"I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

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gretzkyrh4
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:17 am
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

"I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by gretzkyrh4 » November 17th, 2013, 7:46 pm

I decided to steal a great SE Chapter forum idea this weekend and call a random day on our local survey site in East Baton Rouge Parish this morning.

Here's how it turned out:

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**With the weatherman calling for rain, my dSLR was tucked away safely at home, so you’re all going to have to suffer through some poor handheld P&S shots below. Sorry.**

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8:00 AM: We made our way onto the trails with temps in the low 70s and 40% chance of T-storms.

8:10 AM: First two herps of the day came under a railroad tie.

Lithobates clamitans (Bronze Frog)
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And Gastrophryne carolinensis (Eastern Narrowmouth Toad) not photographed.

8:12 AM: The next log produced our first Eurycea guttolineata (3-lined Salamander).
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8:15 AM: A few minutes later, our only Hyla cinerea (Green Tree Frog) of the day was observed hopping through the undergrowth.
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8:20 -8:25 AM: As we began moving upslope, the first of many Scincella lateralis (Ground Skink) and Ollotis nebulifer(Gulf Coast Toad) were spotted in the leaf litter and an Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander) turned up under a log we were hoping would produce a slimy salamander.

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8:35 – 8:40 AM: Our second Eurycea species turned up as we moved into one of our marbled salamander hotspots, as did approximately half a dozen of the anticipated marbleds.

Eurycea quadradigitata (Dwarf Salamander)
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Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander)
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About this time we also began hearing intermittent choruses of Pseudacris crucifer (Spring Peepers) calling in the distance.

8:50 – 9:15 AM: Once again making our way to higher, drier ground, we switched gears and gave artificial cover flipping a try. The first piece of tin produced a snake. Unfortunately, it was a victim of near freezing temps we had experienced a few nights before.

Thamnophis sirtalis (Eastern Garter Snake) dead under tin
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The next few pieces of A/C produced a string of Diadophis punctatus (ringnecks)
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Until, a new species for the site, Virginia valeriae (Smooth Earth Snake) broke the monotony
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A cinder block produced our only Plestiodon laticeps (Broadhead Skink) of the morning; likely the same individual we’ve been flipping at this spot since early spring.
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And finally, some shaded tin produced two more amphibian species:
Ollotis nebulifer (Gulf Coast Toad)
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And the invasive, Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides (Rio Grande Chirping Frog)
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9:25-9:30 AM: Up the trail, we decided to check in on our A.talpoideum pool even though it seemed a little early for this species. This proved true, but a few other winter breeders were present under the surrounding logs.

Pseudacris fouquettei (Cajun Chorus Frog) showed up first;
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Followed by our only Notophthalmus viridescens (Central Newt)
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And three more Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander)
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9:40 AM: Doubling back, we flipped a small Thamnophis proximus (Western Ribbon Snake);
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And spotted a basking Anolis carolinensis (Green Anole)
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9:55 AM: After finding only fowler's toads and Eleutherodactylus at our next flipping spot, we began to cover more ground, until Jeff spotted this Nerodia fasciata (Broadbanded Watersnake)
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10:05 – 10:25 AM: Our first, and only, Agkistrodon piscivorus (Cottonmouth) came as we detoured along a slough and Brennan spotted it basking on a fallen limb
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Log flipping along the slough produced more bronze frogs, Eurycea sp., Acris crepitans (Northern Cricket Frog; not vouchered), and three other new anurans for the day.

Lithobates catesbeianus (Bull Frog);
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Lithobates sphenocephalus (Southern Leopard Frog);
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And Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope’s Gray Tree Frog)
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As we exited the slough, we noticed this on the ground:
Terrapene carolina (Eastern Box Turtle) or at least the remains of one
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11:00 AM: After another 20 minutes of ground skinks and bronze frogs, we managed to add a box turtle to our live herp list with this trail side beauty

Terrapene carolina (Eastern Box Turtle)
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11:15 – 11:25 AM: Back near the cars, we wrapped up by adding a few more species and vouchering one that I’d missed earlier in the day.

Sceloporus undulatus (Eastern Fence Lizard)
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Gastrophryne carolinensis (Eastern Narrowmouth Toad)
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And Sternotherus odoratus (Musk Turtle)
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11:30 AM – 12:00 PM: We finished up the day flipping railroad ties along a slough with only Eurycea sp and Lithobates sp. to report and called it a day.

In total, we observed/heard 28 species of herp in just under 4 hours of field time.

Again, sorry for the poor shots.

Chris

troy hibbitts
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Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by troy hibbitts » November 19th, 2013, 10:10 am

the last turtle (shell) is a Sternotherus - probably odoratus, but I can't say for sure from just the plastron.

gretzkyrh4
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:17 am
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Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by gretzkyrh4 » November 19th, 2013, 10:13 am

Thanks Troy. I flip flopped back and forth on that last shell for a while. odoratus and carinatus are present at the site, but I'd assume odoratus (will post pics of the rest of the shell later).

Chris

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Jeff
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Location: Louisiana

Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by Jeff » November 20th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Troy is correct on the last turtle shell -- the key is the abdominal patch where the interstitial skin is situated in live Sternotherus.

You are now ahead of my adjacent site for species count. On my best day there, a promising spring day with Brian Crother and eight students, we only found 23 species. In fact, I have had very few days of more than 18 species in south Louisiana. Folks may not realize how difficult it is to achieve 28 species down here.

Jeff

gretzkyrh4
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:17 am
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Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by gretzkyrh4 » November 21st, 2013, 5:39 am

Thanks Jeff. You still have a few species at your site that I'm hoping we can turn up on ours, but any additions are going to require a combination of luck, turtle trapping, and making a real effort to get into the thick of things away from any trails. Jeff did photograph some amphibian eggs last winter that Eric believe may be A.texanum, so that will likely be our next target.

Regarding the 28 species, it's our best day to date. I was really hoping for 30 though and believe we could have broken it, had we stayed an extra couple of hours. Maybe next time.

Chris

LittleJohn
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Joined: October 27th, 2013, 10:39 am

Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by LittleJohn » November 22nd, 2013, 2:41 pm

Wow, that ring-necked snake is awesome, but what about the central newt, I don't know much about them, what kind of habitat do you usually find them in?

teter247
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Joined: July 28th, 2010, 8:12 am

Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by teter247 » November 22nd, 2013, 2:49 pm

odoratus and carinatus are present at the site
Perhaps I'm missing something, highly unlikely, but the carapace between these two would be obvious. If you even question it I would stick with oderatus

TH

gretzkyrh4
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:17 am
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: "I Call Random" Post 11-17-13

Post by gretzkyrh4 » November 22nd, 2013, 7:40 pm

teter247 wrote:
odoratus and carinatus are present at the site
Perhaps I'm missing something, highly unlikely, but the carapace between these two would be obvious. If you even question it I would stick with oderatus

TH
You're correct, TH. The flip flopping comment was in reference to Kinosternon vs Sternotherus. I was just mentioning the presence of carinatus, though nothing about the shell would indicate that species in this case.

Chris

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