July 2009 Archives

The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia first reported and now the June 22nd issue of the Journal of Zoology describes the discovery of a new salamander species from the Southeastern states of Georgia and South Carolina. Initially found in the spring of 2007 by a graduate student from the University of Georgia and University of Missouri, they returned again in 2008 and, with the assistance of a 10-year-old son of one of the graduate student's, found the first male of the species. The salamander has been named the patch-nosed salamander,Urspelerpes brucei, because of lighter coloring on the tiny salamander's nose. The discovery of the species is unique for several reasons most strikingly because it is the first amphibian species found in the United States for 50 years. The species also differs from other plethodontids as it exhibits sexual color dimorphism (coloration differences between male and female) and that it does not exhibit sexual size dimorphism (size differences between male and female) typically found in other plethodontids.

While I realize that a book about a toad isn't exactly salamander material, it's close enough, being a related amphibian, for me to to justify a blog entry.

While attending the Rusk County Dairy Breakfast in Ladysmith Wisconsin, I met Eileen Ziesler a local author who has self-published a book entitled "Toads". She took the time to not only chat with me about the book, amphibians, and conservation but to sing a lullaby (which I believe she should record and add to the book) to my youngest son. Throughout the area, Eileen (along with a rather large toad companion) visits schools and libraries reading from her book. This is, of course, an idea which I admire and understand as I see in my children, and felt as a child once myself, the amazement of experiencing the natural world and discovering the role that amphibians play in it. Her book is available for purchase online at Toad House Publishing which also includes links to purchase some of the prints of the fantastic watercolor images from the book. I highly recommend it.