Below are also a few images taken while I visited Pigeon Mountain near Atlanta with Ron Gagliardo and Robert Hill.
This was the related post: Hunting Salamanders in Atlanta!
Yesterday I had the most amazing day looking for salamanders a couple of hours North of Atlanta in the mountains with my friend Ron Gagliardo and also Robert Hill of ABG, it was wonderful. We set off to look for a very rare species that only occurs in the limestone rock crevices of Pigeon Mountain. The weather’s been really hot and dry since I arrived in Atlanta, which has been great for me, but not so great for finding amphibians. We first searched the streams at the foot of the mountain and to my surprise found several species within a matter of minutes. These creatures are nothing like the newts you find under stones back in England, these move as fast as a lizard and can be really hard to catch as they dive for cover in fast-flowing streams. Anyway, we found some dusky, long-tailed, and even red salamanders living under stones right by the stream, superb. These were swabbed for chytrid by Robert, who commits lots of his own time to important related conservation fieldwork.
We then went up near the top of the mountain, where sheer rock faces dominate, to search the damp crevices for the Pigeon Mountain species that is so elusive. After some searching, Robert’s torch picked out a tiny slimy tail, but there was just no chance of getting a better view. Then we saw another specimen just within reach! After photographing the black and gold little creature we popped him back and headed for the cool cave system. We entered with torches and scanned the walls. Literally within a minute of entering, cave salamanders were everywhere, beautiful orange and black spotted ones, totally unconcerned with our presence. It was amazing!
My sincere thanks go to Ron and Robert for allowing me the experience, cheers Guys!
Here is a summary of Caudata research paper (below): The fully aquatic Cryptobranchids are the world’s largest amphibians and the three described species range from threatened to critically endangered. Cryptobranchids present particular survey challenges because of their large demographic variation in body size from three cm larvae to 1.5 m adults, and the wide variation in their habitats and microhabitats. We review and compare the types and applications of survey techniques for Cryptobranchids and other aquatic Caudata from a conservation and animal welfare perspective.