Hunting for Salamanders in the southern Appalachians

On a cool morning in early October, we set out with a group of Orianne Society members to search for reptiles and amphibians in the north Georgia mountains. This marked the start of Places You’ve Never Herped 14. We have been taking Orianne Society members on field herping expeditions annually since 2012, traveling to places […]

Tegus find their way into Georgia

Increasing globalization has led to a truly astounding number of reptile and amphibian species being easily available for purchase as part of the massive reptile and amphibian pet trade. Take a trip to a reptile show or browse the internet and you can buy anything ranging from alligators to large tortoises to some of the […]

Estimating salamander dispersal distances to inform management decisions

I have written previously about the importance of maintaining and restoring connectivity at a landscape scale to reduce the negative effects of fragmentation on natural communities.  Even though the importance of maintaining connectivity is well-understood in the conservation community, direct measures of connectivity between animal populations that can inform specific management objectives are often lacking.  […]

Burning Away Tick-borne Diseases

            I get asked all the time if I worry about venomous snakes while working in the field.  Well-meaning friends and family members encourage me to be on the lookout for snakes at all times.  These comments generally come from people who have the mindset that venomous snakes are lurking around every corner or are […]

Where do roads impact Gopher Tortoise conservation in Georgia?

            In Georgia, roads are a pervasive landscape feature. The ever expanding road network connects cities and winds through almost every corner of the state.  This dense road network is spurred on by Georgia’s increasing population, which has grown by over a million residents in the last 10 years to a total of over 10.6 […]

Six years of Spotted Turtle Monitoring

We recently wrapped up our sixth consecutive year surveying for Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) in Georgia. This year was exceptionally challenging with dry conditions hampering survey efforts in late April and May. Many wetlands favored by Spotted Turtles were completely dry well before the end of the sampling season. A stark contrast to last season […]

Coral Snakes and their Mimics

Show someone from the southeastern U.S. a red, black, and yellow (or white) banded snake and a large portion of them will recite some version of the well-known rhyme meant to help distinguish Eastern Coral Snakes (Micrurus fulvius) from species with a similar appearance. Red on yellow kill a fellow. Red on black friend of […]

Exploring South Carolina’s Lowcountry

            Spring has officially arrived with the promise of warmer weather and longer days. This year we will be spending a majority of the spring and early summer working on several Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) research projects. The Orianne Society began working with Spotted Turtles all the way back in 2014 when we began monitoring […]

An Indigo Snake survey season for the record books

            As spring arrives in southern Georgia, we recently wrapped up the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) survey season.  From November 2018 ­through February 2019, we surveyed 20 sites for indigo snakes, visiting each site on three occasions.  Sixty surveys in four months does not sound like a lot, but it is always a good […]

The slimy salamander complex: A window into genetic divergence and the definition of a species

Travel to almost any deciduous forest in the eastern United States and you can potentially encounter one of the members of the slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) species complex.  Slimy salamanders are large members of the family Plethodontidae or lungless salamanders, which rely completely on cutaneous respiration for gas exchange (i.e., they breathe through their skin).  […]