Monday, July 19, 2010

Salamanders, Snails and Smooth Rock Tripe at Coopers Rock

After we left Cransville Swamp area we drove over to Coopers Rock State Forest to look for salamanders. I have been there at night but never during the day. We didn't expect to find much but since we were in the area why not take a look. 


Right off the bat we found this little Red Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) out of the water. He looked like had just finished the red eft phase and was now heading back to his birthplace to breed and live out the remainder of his days. He was still tiny. Well that was unusual to see one in that stage of growth but when we saw three more walking about and crossing our path we began to count our blessings The very heavy rain we had driven through might have had something to do with them being out and about but it was unusual to see them in this stage of their growth while still on land.

We headed for the popular rock outcrops to see the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus), not expecting to find any because they are typically only seen at night if you are lucky. And then you need to take a flash light and look deep into the rock crevices to find them. On a good night one is a great find. So imagine our surprise when once again the graduate student found this one, on a tree no less! In the day time, well OK, but on a tree...no way! We all concluded that this was probably a rare record of of a green salamander climbing on a tree. To our knowledge they had only rarely been documented on trees. It looked like the tail of this one was regenerating.


One of the other Master Naturalists lifted up a large rock and found this Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus). We set it in the net so we wouldn't be handling it very much and could get a good view. Our hands can be toxic to salamanders especially since we had bug spray on us. They are fairly common in West Virginia but always a treat to see.

Here is a beautiful land snail that I found climbing on these moss and lichen covered trees. 

This is one of the many Smooth Rock Tripe covered boulders that we were looking into to find the green salamanders. So that concluded my stay at the Mountain Nature Camp in Terra Alta.

Go to other places with Outdoor Wednesday.

8 comments:

Love Bears All Things said...

Wonderful discoveries, great detail in your photos...I really enjoyed my stop here.
Mama Bear

Linda said...

What great photos and a wonderful trip.

Luna Miranda said...

these creatures are totally riveting! great shots!

eileeninmd said...

Cool looking creatures. Great sighting! Is Cransville Swamp, near Deep Creek Lake?

squirrel said...

Eileen, Yes, Cranesville is very near Deep Creek Lake. It is well worth seeking out and is a similar to Cranberry Glades but smaller and the birding is excellent. Nature Conservancy owns it.

Alan said...

Sounds like it was worth stopping and checking out! Goes to show how much one can see if they just take their time and look closely. Great photos!

http://abebedorespgondufo.blogs.sapo.pt/ said...

Very good.

Rambling Woods said...

Another great adventure that I would love to be on....