Book Review: Amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains

A little background before I jump to the review. I love the Smoky Mountains! They are one of my favorite places on Earth. Not only are they ancient and beautiful but the Appalachian Mountain chain they belong to is believed to be the birthplace for Plethodontid salamanders (the lungless salamanders) and they ...Read More

Lazy Sunday with Nyarla

Nyarla and I decided to spend the day lounging around. We both just finished a tasty brunch, her’s was mouse a la carte while I went with the Cuban and chips. So we decided how better to spend the day than relaxing around the house, have a fun photo shoot, maybe take ...Read More

Copperhead (Agkistodon contortrix)

Virginia is home to three species of venomous snakes: timber rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads. Copperheads (Agkistodon contortrix) are the least venomous of the three and are present in the south east quarter of the United States, excluding most of Florida and parts of Texas and Georgia. This past summer I encountered quite ...Read More

Archaeology Meets Herpetology: Are Arizona Painted Turtles Native?

Now most of us are familiar with the cute, brightly patterned, aquatic painted turtleĀ (Chrysemys picta) because this turtle is found across the US. In fact this species is the only native turtle with a transcontinental range in the US. Its range extends from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and a ...Read More

Watching extinction happen: origins of the salamander eater: Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans

How it al started It has only been a year since the salamander eating killer fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (hereafter Bs.) has been discovered and described after it brought the Dutch population of fire salamanders, Salamandra salamandra terrestris, to the brink of extinction. An ex situ program was set into place to rescue ...Read More

Poison Dart Frog Becoming New Species Before Our Eyes

Scientists studying the mimic poison dart frog (Ranitomeya imitator) suggest it might be separating into two different species. The mimic poison dart frog was discovered in the 1980’s and is only found in Peru. At least four different color morphs exist and two are thought to mimic more toxic dart frog species ...Read More

The Last Dragons: Protecting Hellbenders

As many of you know our largest species of salamander in the U.S., the hellbender, isn’t doing very well. Hellbenders (Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) and the Ozark Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi)) have suffered large population declines due to habitat loss and pollution. Recently this beautiful video was released to help inform ...Read More

The NOVA Reptile Expo Experience

Reptile expos are a gathering of the herp enthused to marvel at different species, see the books of the trade, and maybe even buy a new companion. The local expo I go to at least once a year is the Northern Virginia Reptile Expo at Prince William County Fairgrounds. This time around ...Read More

Pollution May Cause Tumors In Sea Turtles

A recent study from scientists at Duke University, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests nitrogen-rich pollution from urban and agricultural runoff in Hawaii may be to blame for lethal tumors in sea turtles. Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) suffering from theĀ tumor-forming disease fibropapillomatosis (FP) are being ...Read More

Lizards Learn By Watching Others

A new study by researchers from the UK and Hungary has shown that bearded dragons can learn through imitation. Learning through imitation was previously thought to only exist in humans and other advanced primates and a few birds. True imitation is the ability of an individual to copy and understand the behavior ...Read More