August 12, 2021
Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Here's another find from the VMNH trip to Alleghany County last week: a salamander found in a small pond near a man-made tunnel!
While it's sometimes difficult to identify salamanders to species, this is most likely a seal salamander (Desmognathus monticola), a lungless salamander found throughout a large portion of the Appalachian Mountains. A fairly common species, these salamanders can often be found in mountain streams and spring-fed brooks within their range.
This is the second lungless salamander we've looked at this week, and you might be wondering what that term means. Lungless salamanders are salamanders belonging to the family Plethodontidae. They're distinguished from other salamanders by the fact that they don't -- brace yourself -- have lungs! Instead, they respire through their skin and the tissue lining their mouths. This is one of the reasons that it's best to avoid handling salamanders with bare hands, as the oils and salts from our skin are readily absorbed into theirs.
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 (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
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!