Ornate Chorus Frogs

            On rainy nights in late fall and winter, small wetlands across the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S. come to life with the frantic calls and movements of winter breeding amphibians.  Many amphibian species breed in seasonal wetlands that are most commonly inundated during predictable fall and winter rains.  These wetlands provide ideal breeding […]

Ecosystem Engineers: Creating Habitat for Others

Biologists have many ways to classify animals.  Species can be grouped together based on what they eat, their relationships with other species, the time of day they are most likely to be active, or their evolutionary history and genetic relationships to other species.  Ecosystem engineers are species that modify their environment in a significant manner, […]

Fieldnotes- December 2018

In this month’s installment of Fieldnotes, we’ve kicked off the 2018-19 Eastern Indigo Snake survey season, and Ben takes a moment to discuss the seasonal behavior of Georgia indigos, while showcasing Humboldt, a large male from our mark-recapture study.

Shedding Light on Disappearing Turtle Populations

Turtles are an ancient group of animals that have remained relatively unchanged over a long evolutionary history that spans more than 200 million years. A recent review by Lovich et al. (2018) highlights the current global plight of turtles. Some 61% of the world’s turtle species are either threatened or already extinct, making turtles one […]

October Photo of the Month

October’s Photo of the Month comes to us from Michael Perry who snapped a shot of this beautiful Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in the Coastal Plain of Georgia.

Prevalence of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in Georgia’s Native Snake Fauna

Over the last two years, we have sampled the snake fauna of southeastern Georgia for Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the causative agent of Snake Fungal Disease (SFD). SFD has now been identified in snakes across the eastern United States, including several severe cases in Georgia that prompted this study. We sampled snakes through a variety of methods […]

A How-to on Proper Use of a Field Guide

Field guides are a gateway to understanding the natural world. Indeed, many herpers I know treasure their very first field guide, which opened their eyes to the diversity around them, keeping its tattered remains up on a shelf next to newer editions as a memento. My first was copy Peterson’s “Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern […]

Fieldnotes- September 2018

Join Ben Stegenga and Jonathon Bolton as they kick off our trap survey efforts for Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys suwanniensis) in previously unsurveyed sections of South Georgia rivers. A huge thank you to TOS member Tucker Ennis for helping with fieldwork and providing additional video.

Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle

Georgia’s Giant Turtles

Alligator snapping turtles are the largest species of freshwater turtle in Georgia, reaching sizes of up to 200 pounds and carapace lengths in excess of 80 cm (over 30 inches).  Until recently, all alligator snapping turtles were classified as a single species: Macrochelys temminckii.  However, Thomas et al. (2014) split alligator snapping turtles into three […]

Following the thread: Searching for turtle nests

This spring we were posed with a challenging question.  How do you go about finding Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) nests when there is very little information available about where or when they are going to lay eggs?  Our first step towards answering this question was to capture female turtles and attach radio transmitters to their […]