Stunning Salamanders on a Winter Foray in the Woods with NKFHerping and!

Stunning Salamanders on a Winter Foray in the Woods with NKFHerping and!

Found a good variety of Salamanders today. Had a few productive outings before this weekend’s cold front. I’m looking forwards to warmer weather next week!

The richest biodiversity of reptile and amphibian species (herpetofauna) in the United States is concentrated in the Southeast. Home to more than 150 species of herpetofauna, Georgia ranks high among the states in total number of native species. One reason for the great herpetofaunal diversity in Georgia is that the state hosts many different terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including upland and bottomland mixed pine and hardwood forests, mountain coniferous forests, pine flatwoods, cypress–tupelo gum swamps, sandhills, streams, rivers, isolated wetlands, and caves, as well as salt marshescoastal islands, and the ocean. The extensive habitat diversity, coupled with a moderate climate, is ideal for supporting a wide variety of reptile and amphibian species.

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Georgia is home to approximately eighty species of amphibians, including at least fifty different kinds of salamanders. On the Coastal Plain are the giant salamanders, sirens and amphiumas, which can reach lengths of more than three feet, and the equally massive hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), found in mountain trout streams. The numerous woodland salamanders of the southern Appalachian Mountains of Georgia and neighboring states give this region the highest salamander diversity in the world. The unusual Pigeon Mountain salamander (Plethodon petraeus) is found nowhere else except in an area of northern Georgia. The limestone and cave-rich portion of southwest Georgia is home to the bizarre albino and eyeless Georgia blind salamander (Haideotriton wallacei). Thirty native species of frogs (as well as the greenhouse frog [Eleutherodactylus planirostris], native to the Caribbean) are found in the state, including several species of tree frogs, chorus frogs, and toads. The bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), pig frog (Rana grylio), and seldom-seen river frog (Rana heckscheri) are the largest species. The little grass frog (Pseudacris ocularis) of southern Georgia is the smallest frog species in the country and one of the smallest vertebrates in the world. Each of Georgia’s frog species emits a unique vocalization that they use to attract mates, just as birds do, although frogs are more typically heard at night. (Source: Gibbons, Whit and John Jensen. “Reptiles and Amphibians.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Aug 26, 2018.

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