The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

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jonathan
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The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by jonathan » January 25th, 2016, 7:11 am

Welcome to the first weekly Northwest herp identification contest! This is all in good fun, with the added benefit of getting me to fix any database screwups I may have made. It might also be helpful to newcomers and visitors who are looking to make these various ID distinctions in the field.

ID difficulties usually occur between closely-related species. But for this first week’s contest, I’m pulling together three quite unrelated species for whom newbies to the northwest often have a tough time telling apart. I’ve screwed these up myself at least twice! So for the first week’s contest, the question is…

Long-toed?
Dunn’s?
or Clouded?

An Ambystoma of the marshes, Plethodon of the streams, and Aneides of the trees. Which is which?

Reply with your answers by number:


1.
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2.
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3.
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4.
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5.
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6.
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7.
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8.
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9.
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AndyO'Connor
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by AndyO'Connor » January 28th, 2016, 10:33 am

1. Dunn's
2. Long toed
3. Dunn's
4. Clouded
5. Clouded
6. Long toed
7. Long toed
8. Clouded
9. Dunn's

I'm not 100% on 4 and 5, 4 doesn't look like it's hind feet are webbed, but everything else about it says clouded, and 5 has webbed hind feet, but otherwise looks like a dunn's to me, so I am going with my gestalt on those two.

Darian
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Darian » January 28th, 2016, 10:57 am

I'll go:

1. Dunns (Edit, I changed my mind, only #3 is Aneides)
2. Long toed
3. Clouded
4. Dunn's
5. Dunn's
6. Long toed
7. Long toed
8. Dunn's
9. Dunn's

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Fieldnotes
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Fieldnotes » January 28th, 2016, 12:14 pm

Saw the post earlier when it was a poll, so I'm chiming in with an unbias response.

1). Dunn's (looks a lot like a Del Norte, but that wasnt an option.)
2). Long-toed (well, its the "long-toe").
3). Clouded (large jaw muscles, rusty color on tail.)
4). Clouded (clouded brassy tone as well as coagulation of rust on tail brim)
5). Dunn's (nasolibial and Dunn-like appearance. The rear, webbed looking foot is odd, perhaps just the camera's angle.)
6). Long-toed
7). Long-toed
8. Clouded (large jaw muscles, clouded brassy tone as well as coagulation of rust on tail brim)
9. Dunn's

=3

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Owen
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Owen » January 28th, 2016, 12:18 pm

At first look, I had:

1. Plethodon
2. Ambystoma
3. Aneides
4. Plethodon (hardest to guess)
5. Plethodon (with Hydromantes feet)
6. Ambystoma
7. Ambystoma
8. Aneides
9. Plethodon

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jonathan
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by jonathan » January 29th, 2016, 8:05 pm

Owen wrote:At first look, I had:

5. Plethodon (with Hydromantes feet)
Yeah, anyone know what's up with those feet on that one? That threw me off when I found it too.

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Joshua Wallace
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Joshua Wallace » January 29th, 2016, 9:49 pm

Fieldnotes has it right. Great challenge Jonathan, really shows how similar some unrelated salamanders can be. I am alaways amazed at how close the Dunn's and Cloudeds can be. Some parts of WA can be really tough when you get three of the plethodons together. I have found Van Dyke's, Dunn's and WRB together and depending on the color phase that can be a pain.

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jonathan
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by jonathan » January 29th, 2016, 9:54 pm

Joshua Wallace wrote:Great challenge Jonathan, really shows how similar some unrelated salamanders can be. I am alaways amazed at how close the Dunn's and Cloudeds can be. Some parts of WA can be really tough when you get three of the plethodons together. I have found Van Dyke's, Dunn's and WRB together and depending on the color phase that can be a pain.
That's actually my week 3 challenge. :thumb:

Next week I'm posting the


Joshua Wallace wrote:Fieldnotes has it right.
I'll post the actual answers on Monday, when I put up the next challenge. ;)

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Owen
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Owen » January 30th, 2016, 9:43 am

I'm so used to my Aneides looking like this:

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Fieldnotes
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Fieldnotes » January 31st, 2016, 2:22 pm

Now that's and Aneides. Thats pretty cool--buffy head. Decades ago when finding my first Arboreals, all were rather small, and then I found a large adult, like the one pictured, I was shocked--Holy Moly!! I no idea they got so massive.

:thumb:

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jonathan
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by jonathan » February 1st, 2016, 9:49 pm

Yep, Fieldnotes and Joshua nailed it! I especially liked Fieldnotes's explanation of the distinguishing ID characteristics on the tough ones.

You can get started on Challenge #2: Dicamptodon!



Here are a few additional pictures of the above salis with the habitat/locality info:


1. This strangely-colored Dunn's was found in roadside talus in Clatsop County during a brief rainstorm.

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2. This pair of long-toed salis were found under an old tire in traditional marshy habitat in Multnomah County. However, I surprisingly found a Dunn's (and an ensatina) only 20 feet uphill from them in roadside gravel just above the marsh.

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take a look at those long toes

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3. This tricky Clouded was under loose bark on a large fallen tree in old forest in the greater Portland area.

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4. Matt found this Clouded Salamander under a decaying log in recently replanted forest in Lane County.

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5. The partner to #1 (there were actually 3 Dunn's found in 10 minutes here, all with this same coloration). Like others, I also mistook it for a Clouded Salamander when I saw it, and had to get corrected on the Forum.

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6. This Long-toed sali was found in Columbia County, lying under the matted cover surrounding a drain, with a northwestern garter right next to it:

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7. And when I checked the same spot the next year, this time there were two Long-toeds side-by-side

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8. Matt found this Clouded Salamander under a log in old growth forest in Lane County. Matt spends a lot of time in old growth forest in the coast range and sees more Clouded Salis than anyone else I know - a dozen in 2014/2015 alone, spread across 3 different counties.

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9. I found this Dunn's randomly on the roadside in Columbia County, but more normal-looking talus habitat was only a hundred meters or so away.

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Obviously I tried to choose ones that were at least a bit tricky. I mined through well over 100 Dunn's, 30+ Long-toed, and 17 Clouded (mostly Matt's) to get these slightly confusing individuals. Often they give themselves away easier...but not always. Hopefully the practice was worthwhile!

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Owen
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by Owen » February 2nd, 2016, 9:21 am

The eyes would be a dead giveaway in the field. All 3 of these species have very different looking eyes.

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jonathan
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Re: The Great Northwest Herp ID Contest: Week 1

Post by jonathan » February 2nd, 2016, 11:03 am

Matt just reminded me about this one - I should have made it #9 and probably would have gotten a few people (it got me).

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Owen wrote:The eyes would be a dead giveaway in the field. All 3 of these species have very different looking eyes.
Interesting - I wasn't aware of that. Something to look for.

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