Saturday, January 29, 2011
Another weekend, another herping expedition. January 29th? The coldest time of the year? 25 degrees? Of course!
I thought I might try a spring house in the Wissahickon Valley, Philadelphia, PA, next to which I had turned up a long-tailed salamander (Eurycea longicauda)a couple years ago. Here is a long-tail from elsewhere, in Berks County, PA, a blurry shot of a really pretty one (which is worse, a nice shot of a mediocre specimen, or a bad shot of a real looker? Probably the latter for demonstrating the missed opportunity):
I hiked up to the point on the trail where I had to cut off for the spring house (thinking up to that point 'this is not that bad') and then waded into the snow.
Of course the spring house was locked (couldn't get past the Master Lock on the bolt) so I didn't have a shot at any adults, but I did dip out some water from the pool just below the spring house, full of watercress in the thawed times, and came up with some larval salamanders. Here are five of them.
Of course all turned out to be baby two-lines (Eurycea bislineata). Note the two rows of light spots down the backs of the little critters; long-tails would be generally mottled without those spots.