Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Let's kick off the week with another cool find from the recent VMNH trip to Giles County: Eurycea lucifuga, the spotted-tail salamander or cave salamander!

This salamander was one of several found inside New River Cave in Giles County, and they can generally be found in counties along the western edge of the Commonwealth. These salamanders live in a surprising variety of habitats. While we found this one in the "twilight zone" of New River Cave (the area of the cave that light still reaches), they can also be found well past the twilight zone living in total darkness. Despite their common name, they can even be found outside of caves, usually in forests near rocky crevices, near springs, or even under damp rocks and logs.

According to the website of the Virginia Herpetological Society, it's difficult to tell just how many cave salamanders are out there. They're considered endangered in Ohio, Mississippi, and Kansas, and they're considered rare in West Virginia. Since the majority of these salamanders are found in caves and caves are quite sensitive to human disturbance, it's important that we do all we can to preserve these unique environments and the fascinating creatures that live within them.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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