Herp note 6: Conecuh National Forest

Necturus loadingi from the creek named “dog hole”!

Recently the Auburn University Herpetology class took a field trip to the The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center and bordering Conecuh National Forest. The primary purpose of this trip was to find as many herpetofauna as we could in the span of one day and two nights. While it was a relatively short trip we found over 24 species of herps including frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, and lizards (sorry no caecillians)!

My favorite part of the trip was snorkelling and using the seine nets in many of the ponds we visited. Overall, it was a great trip and I got to see many things I have never seen before.

A male Sceloperus undulatus
Notohptalmus viridescens
(Left to right) Apolone ferox, Sternotherus odoratus, and Pseudemys floridana
Pseudotriton ruber
Hyla avivoca, found this guy stumbling along the way!





Embryos Don’t Mind the Heat [repost]

[Repost from Anole annals]

A. cristatellus. Photo by Renata Brandt

Walking down “Red Road” in Pinecrest neighborhood of Miami, FL, it is hard to miss a myriad of lizards on trees and street lamps. Among the many city-dwelling residents, the Cuban brown anole (A. sagrei) and the Puerto Rican crested anole (A. cristatellus) are seen virtually everywhere. While there are evidences that anoles are adapting to urban landscapes, most of past studies have focused on adult stages (Kolbe et al., 2012; Winchell et al., 2016; Lapiedra et al., 2017) and early life stages have been largely ignored. Our recently published study was the first to address how adaptation in the embryonic stage could facilitate establishment of populations in cities.

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Herp note 5: Chattahoochee State Park

Last weekend I got to go out to Chattahoochee State Park (border of Florida and Alabama) with the 13 students from Herpetology class lab by Brian Folt. Our goal was to check out the wetlands (possible habitats for the one-toed amphiuma and sirens).

Over the course of two days, we saw over 14 species of herps, some of which I’ve witness for the first time:

  • common snapping turtle
  • Common cooter turtles
  • Squirrel tree frog


Herp note 4: Miami


Snapping a photo of A. carolinensis (photo by Renata B)

~Welcome to the city where the heat is on….
This past weekend, I was very fortunate to have a chance to spend time looking for herps in Miami (Florida, USA) with my colleagues Josh, Tim, and Renata. Our main objective was to collect some brown anoles (A. sagrei) for Josh’s egg incubation thermal spike experiment, and to survey possible location to set up another experiment I will conduct this summer on maternal nest-site behavior of Puerto Rican crested anoles (A. cristatellus).

A. cristatellus perching at Matheson Hammock


Nonetheless, we had some time to survey for herpetofauna at multiple spots including Pinecrest, Matheson Hammock, Coral Gables and Key Biscayne.

Pinecrest – along Red Road and Snapper Creek Canal
We spent almost four hours here and found:
Brown anole, Crested anole, bark anole, Green anole, brown basilisk, Knight anole, African rock agama, and a Green iguana (respectively: Anolis sagrei, Anolis cristatellus, Anolis distichus, Anolis carolinensis, Basillicus vittatus, Anolis equestris, Agama agama, and Iguna iguana).

Matheson Hammock
A. cristatellus and a lot of Agama agama living in the rock wall in the parking lot.

Key Biscayne – Crandon Park and downtown
A. cristatellus, A. distichus, A. carolinensis and Ctenosaura similis (black spiny tail iguana). It was very windy by the beach!

Coral Gables – Peacock Park
A. sagrei, A. cristatellus, and Leiocephalus carinatus (Northern curly-tail lizard). This park was quite busy with people.

Overall, we saw 13 species of herpetofauna (a snake and turtle not listed) despite the windy condition and overcast sky. It was a very fun and productive weekend, and I look forward to spending more time down in Miami over the summer!

If you would like detailed field notes, please feel free to contact me!

juvenile Ctenosaurus similis