September 7, 2020
#BenInNature is on vacation! While he's out, we're going to look back at the first daily nature updates from way back in March! The following post was originally published on March 19, 2020.
Ben here! This morning, I looked underneath a potted plant in my yard and found this little fellow: a Northern red salamander (Psuedotriton ruber ruber). "Psuedotriton" is Latin for "False Triton," referring to the Greek sea god, which seems vaguely insulting to this awesome salamander. The Northern red salamander is the official state salamander of Virginia and they average 4-6 inches in length. Salamanders are amphibians just like frogs and toads, and this particular species is one of the lungless salamanders, which means it respires through its skin. For this reason, you should never touch a salamander if you find one. As tempting as it is to pick this little guy up and carry him around all day, the salts and oils on our hands are readily absorbed through his skin, so it's best to just observe. Thank you to herpetologist extraordinaire and biology professor Jason Gibson for helping me identify this one! #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.