trip to E USA

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Re: trip to E USA

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:46 am

Don't get me wrong, Kristian, both Clemmys and Chelydra are on my see-before-you-die list ;)

Neil Rowntree wrote: seems you managed the herps/family balancing act quite well!

Let’s just say that opinions differ about that ;)

Bobby Bok wrote:
Peter Oefinger wrote:Beautiful variety of Salamanders - Why do they have so many species compared to Europe...

That would be the influence of the ice ages / lack of refugia I guess...

Yet, still it is puzzling how e.g. the running water niches are not more used in Europe. You even get salamanders that practically only eat salamanders; it’s amazing. I never tried to find out if the European fossil record suggests a richer salamander fauna prior to the glaciations.
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:37 am

Interesting question about salamanders (but also amphibians in general in these places of USA, amphibians which are surely not few!).
But the two areas (Europe and SE USA) are not comparable as regards latitude: Europe lies much more northern than the places visited by Jeroen, and the only places in the mediterranean areas comparable to SE USA as regards latitude (maybe south Greece, south Spain and north Africa) have a totally different clima/vegetation: in north Africa we find desert, and not humid and heavily forested environments such as it happens in SE USA.
At least, amphibian fauna of SE Usa could be compared with that of Taiwan, or southern subtropical China.... but not to european fauna, which probably could be "more similar" to the fauna of northern USA or Canada...


That said (but maybe I've written only obvious or wrong concepts), I would like so much to visit SE Usa, but in early spring (february-march), and with the must-see visit (together with snorkel and dive) to the many wonderful springs of northern West Florida: I mean Wakulla, Ginnie Springs and all the other crystal clear water springs of that region! :D
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:34 pm

SE USA is more than Florida ;) . Appalachia has tough enough winters, to name but one climate feature. Especially higher altitudes could be not too different from some places in Europe. Latitude is also only a partial explanation; you need to consider e.g. ocean currents - New York lays at the same latitude as Madrid.

But places like S Georgia and Florida do not exist in Europe or anywhere north of the Sahara.
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Paul Lambourne » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:07 pm

Jeroen,

Just managed to get some time to sit down and catch up on some of the reports.. loved the USA road trip, great to see the next generation of herpers coming through.. great to see some scenery as well as herps in reports.. so many great species, cottonmouths, yonahlossee,aeneus and hellbender in one trip..just bloody greedy..

I seriously cant wait to have enough euro ticks to venture further afield.. rocky/smokey mountains definitely on my radar..I have "the salamanders of the USA" and "Salamanders of the old world"..you know that means a trip in the offing... keyselingii anyone ? :D

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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Liam Russell » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:56 pm

Fantastic trip Jeroen! The salamander diversity in that area is incredible.

Bobby Bok wrote:
Peter Oefinger wrote:Beautiful variety of Salamanders - Why do they have so many species compared to Europe...


That would be the influence of the ice ages / lack of refugia I guess...



In Europe the main mountain ranges run East-West so which makes it hard to get in and out and glacial refuges, so during glaciation there would be a lot of extinctions of species which cannot move south as they trapped by the mountains. Similarly, in the interglacial it is difficult for them to get out of the refugia, crossing the mountains. In North American they run North-South so species can all retreat safely and recolonise when conditions allow, which gives you a lot greater diversity.
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Thomas Bader » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:17 pm

absolutely great trip report, fantastic - unbelievable diversity!
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Rémon ter Harmsel » Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:55 pm

Great sightings and report (as ever) Jeroen! Have to admit I am very very (not to mention very) jealous of the hellbender sightings, absolutely brilliant animals!!
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Laura Bok » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:59 pm

Forgive my late reply on this topic, I guess I had to swallow the mix of envy and admiration which was stuck in my throat first. Now that the latter outweighs the first I can say: Absolutely amazing! It is not a secret that the Smokies range high (highest?) on my wishlist of destinations, and you obviously had a fantastic trip! Your "shortlist" of salamander targets also corresponds almost 100% with the one I would set up for myself, good to see you succeeded in finding them all! I know you don´t want to hear it, as it doesn´t match with your high standards, but you did incredibly well for a family trip.
Do you by any means have more pictures of the Plethodon petraeus?
Cheers!
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:15 pm

Thank you very much for the additional replies!

Laura, don't worry of getting there, I'll talk to Bobby ;)

Laura Tiemann wrote:Do you by any means have more pictures of the Plethodon petraeus?

Well, summer's thougher there than further north, so not much, I'm afraid.

The habitat was a overhanging rock face with some dark and humid corners.

Image

The first I spotted was a juvenile far away in a crack.

Image

As I was climbing the rocks, looking for more animals, I incidentally rested my hand on another juvenile, which luckily remained unharmed.

Image

Finally, I found the single adult that you already saw. I only took some in situ pictures of it. Here's another one.

Image

Damn... It sucks to be back home.
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Re: trip to E USA

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:25 pm

Another leftover...

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