Unisexual Ambystoma

Unisexual Ambystoma

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Herpin' the Florida Panhandle

A few weeks ago I was in beautiful St. George Island, Florida on vacation with my family. A big part of vacations for me is running around searching for creatures. I was able to spend a good amount of time exploring Apalachicola National Forest and Tate's Hell State Forest. It was fantastic, and I wanted to share some of the species that I turned up.

First off, here is a Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea) that was found while night driving. These beautiful snakes spend most of their time under the leaf litter hunting for eggs of other reptiles. 

A lovely Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttata) that was found just down the road from the Scarlet Snake:

Tate's Hell State Forest provided many opportunities to pull the car over and listen to a variety of frogs and toads calling. One of the loudest and most prominent members of this chorus were Barking Treefrogs (Hyla gratiosa):

Another common road-crosser, the Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis):
There is a Pine Woods Treefrog on this bark, promise.

Here was a first for me, a River Frog (Lithobates hecksheri). I learned very quickly that the terrifying call I was hearing in the middle of the night was actually a river frog. 

Another Pine Woods Treefrog:

One of the most commonly seen and heard treefrogs in the southeast is the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea):

One call that I immediately recognized was the sheep-like "BAAAA" of the Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis). In the second picture you can see one of the unique physical features of narrowmouth toads, the flap of skin on the top of the head that they can fold across their eyes to remove pestering insects.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephala), a species that I remember as "the laughing frog".

Here is an especially colorful Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris):

Finally, here is an example from one of my favorite groups of reptiles in the Southeast, the Family Anguidae:
"Gotcha, I'm not even a snake"

It is an Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)! So cool! This lizard is such a treat to find. I've seen them in South Carolina before, but they often disappear into pine needles way before I can get a hand on one. 

There is something so bizarre about seeing the head of a lizard on the body of a snake:

This trip was just a taster for the Gibbs' lab trip to Florida in August, when we will be assisting fellow grad student Sarah Smiley in finding Pygmy Rattlesnakes. I'm positive we'll be picking up quite a few other great reptiles and amphibians of the Southeast along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment