August 9, 2021
It's time for the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Last week, I joined VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov, Myriapodologist Dr. Jackson Means, and Research Technician Extraordinaire Liberty Hightower on a bug hunt in Alleghany County and Giles County. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite finds from the trip!
While we found some cool insects, we also found a lot of really interesting amphibians, such as this little guy: Eurycea longicauda, the long-tailed salamander! We found this salamander inside a tunnel near Moss Run in Alleghany County. That's not too surprising because this species is considered a cave salamander. They're most often found in the "twilight zones" of caves (areas that aren't too far from the entrance and still receive some sunlight), although they can also be found in forests and springs, usually under rocks and logs.
While many of our salamanders in Virginia have fairly small ranges, this species can be found throughout Appalachia. While they are believed to have a decently large population overall, some local populations have been severely impacted by coal mining. Fortunately, however, the range of these awesome salamanders overlaps with several protected areas, so we'll hopefully have them around for a long time to come!
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!