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).  […]

A Gardener’s Friend: The Secretive Red-bellied Snake

Northern New England is not known for having high reptile and amphibian diversity, yet most people here are amazed to learn how many species we actually have. I’d wager that if you approached someone on the street and asked them to name all the local frogs, salamanders, snakes, and turtles in the area they can […]

Indigo Defensive Strategies

Join Ben in this month’s episode of Fieldnotes as he explores the wide array of defensive strategies displayed by the “Emperor of the Forest”, the Eastern Indigo Snake.

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, […]