Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Plethodon sherando
Big Levels Salamander

Bedford Co., Virginia
April 23, 2006

"....it took me several hours to reach where these salamanders are found, over a number of twisting, two-lane roads that hugged the valleys and climbed up into the mountains. I parked close to a stream that emptied into a fishing lake, and began checking under the rocks bordering the stream. I turned up several Twolined Salamanders, but nothing else; away from the stream margins, the soil was very dry here. It looked like this area hadn't had any rain for a while. When the stream played out I walked around the lake, looking for some seeps or any kind of wet spot where salamanders might be holed up, but came away empty-handed. This place was dry, dry, dry, and I was getting dried out and heated up in the afternoon sun.

I headed back to the vehicle, wondering what my next move was going to be. Should I try another spot further down the road, or move on to the next salamander? I was burning daylight as it was...back at the truck, I looked at a long section of thick log sitting in the weeds on the roadside. On arrival I had dismissed it as being to heavy for me to roll, but looking at it again on the other side of my lousy luck...what the heck, I'll give it a try. You can guess what was underneath - two, count 'em, two Plethodon sherando, sporting big legs and wonky genes. Had I rolled this log right off, I could have saved myself ninety minutes of work!"

Day Three, The Great Salamander Swing






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