An Ambitious Year

16 Feb

Hello folks,

It’s been a long time without posting – but not without good reasons. I’ve got a little girl on the way (due in early May), we just moved to the mountains of Western NC, just bought a new/used car, and I just started two new jobs. But Field Ventures will keep going (and hopefully with some more authors) with field reports, gear reviews, and everything else except with a little more temperate herpetofauna slant. If you’re interested in writing for FV, let me know.

Despite all this business, I haven’t been idle. At the beginning of January I got out with a friend, Cary, and we went looking for the exquisitely beautiful Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), and had great success early on:

IMG_3351 copy IMG_3349 IMG_3338


As we continued on that day and evening, we found both the marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum, forgive the poor photo quality):


As well as the Mole Salamander (A. talpoideum):

IMG_3353 IMG_3364

‘Wow,’ I thought to myself, ‘3 of 4 Ambystoma in the region (central GA) in one evening! wouldn’t it be cool to find the fourth, the Spotted Salamander (A. maculatum)? Well, I parted ways with Cary and began the 4-hour return drive. The rains picked up and what did I see crossing my path?


The missing Ambystoma!


I’ve always appreciated the genus Ambystoma before, but on the long drive I began to contemplate: Wouldn’t it be cool to see them all? Well, money is prohibitive to get to the western US, but what about the Ambystoma east of the Mississippi? In addition to the ones I’d found already, that would leave the Jefferson’s Salamander, the Blue-Spotted Salamander, The Mabees Salamander, Streamside Salamander, Smallmouth Salamander, two species of Flatwoods Salamander, and one or two hybrid species. Why not give it a shot?

So, within a few weeks I visited a good friend for an evening in western KY, and he put me on the Streamside Salamander (A. barbouri):


And last week, I went east (with a little help) to find A. mabeei.:

IMG_3709 IMG_3698

6 species down, 5(ish) species to go!


Posted by on 16/02/2015 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “An Ambitious Year


    18/02/2015 at 3:03 am

    Josh, welcome to the NC Carolina mountains. You had some great finds. There is a small swampy area up here where the spotted’s come out in force during the first warm rain in the spring. Our friend Mike, who has a PhD and studies salamanders, invited Shawn and I to the spot while he and graduate students conducted field research. I believe they do this every year. Well, at least the first two when we tagged along. We’re several hours from you and the weather is tricky to predict in the mountains but think you’d enjoy the night. Keep posting your awesome pics.

  2. Josh

    18/02/2015 at 4:15 am

    Doug, I’d forgotten you and Shawn were up here! We’ll have to get some herping done after this wintery terror ends. Your phone number still the same?


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