Thursday, February 22, 2007


There's a nice serenity to the winter landscape. Maybe it's because trucks aren't rumbling by with crops, or that the distractions of growing plants aren't there. I've had an appreciative eye for non-plants lately, including these charming 1930s clapboard structures that are scattered around the county. Most of the older buildings are vacant, but a couple of homes and churches are still being used.

Today I started my search for adult mole salamanders by carefully lifting and replacing over 100 logs. I found two, but didn't have the camera with me. When I returned to the woods with the camera, I couldn't remember which logs they were under. (It continues to amaze me that I can actually lose myself in a mere 1,026 acres of trees.) Instead I found no fewer than 28 smallmouth salamanders. It was still an exciting day.

Pictures included are of a small Baptist Church, a vacant general store across the road, a large stand of little bluestem at an archeological site, two somewhat chilly amphibians sharing a log together (look closely for the frog), and a gravid smallmouth salamander.


jj said...

Great find! I have been looking for these here in Michigan the past couple years with no luck. They are endangered here. If I might ask wherabouts were these found? I really want to see some. I am right on the ohio/michigan border. Thanks.

Allison Vaughn said...

Wow, I'm sorry they're endangered there. Texanum is pretty common in Missouri...I can't recall their range off the top of my head, but I would suspect you'd have to go south to see them. Check out Petranka's Salamanders of North America for ranges, and just follow the dots on the county maps. Look for low moist woodlands with clay-ey soils that hold moisture. If you have any bottomland forests left, I'd check there. Good luck!