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Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

This is a discussion on Plethodon Vehiculum on campus! within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Hello, This rainy night I was hunting earthworms for my salamander buddies and discovered something amazing - I have Plethodon ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 12th April 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

Hello,

This rainy night I was hunting earthworms for my salamander buddies and discovered something amazing - I have Plethodon Vehiculum on my campus!

They were down near the gardens in crevices in a concrete brick wall that ran for about 20 yards. I found them in cracks less than an inch wide, and 5 specimens roaming on moss. I found none in drier portions of the wall, only the portions covered in moss. There were millipedes, beetles, earthworms, and slugs accompanying them, which I assume they fed on the offspring of.

I found a range of sizes from 1 1/2 inches to 4 inches. I found 14 in total, and one was a mother that had just deposited 5 eggs deep into the crack. I could not retrieve the mother or the eggs, but I'll go back to that spot later. I had two containers for worms, and sacrificed the opportunity to get more worms by collecting some specimens. I was only able to catch 9, but they're brilliant. When I put them in, they secreted a bubbly foam sort onto the plastic until I got a small amount of water and moss in there with them. I brought them back to my room as they are legal to collect and keep without a permit. I have them on very damp paper towels followed by sphagnum and frog moss. I just fed them a bunch of fruit flies from my cultures. Delightful to watch them eat. Curiously, they seem to have no predator reflexes or defensive stances. They just sit there. They don't even run away. They were so easy to catch, almost docile.

Cute, no? Put them in a temporary shoe box - bigger enclosure later. For these little guys, how big do you think it should be? They're mostly around 3 inches at most, except for one biggie.
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Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!-img_0928.jpg  



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Old 12th April 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

thats an awesome find. I would think a 10 gallon or a 15 would be fine. Its especially cool how docile they are haha. The ones from around here try to wriggle under any object in the vacinity or make a mad dash for it, although their attempts are futile. I keep hoping for a dicamptodon tenebrosus on my searches, but I recently side tracked to catching redside shiners, crawdads,daces, and sculpins.

Ok I am getting off track... Great find though



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Old 12th April 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

The lack of predator reflexes reminds me of salamander survey I was doing. We were surveying for Cheat Mountain salamanders (Plethodon nettingi). The interns I had helping were NOT salamander people. One girl had never even seen a cow 'in the wild', she was that much of a city girl. So I had to come up with a good way for them to distinguish what salamanders we were finding. There were 3 that we normally come across. So I told them if they flipped the board and it ran away, it was a Mountain Dusky. If they flipped the board, and it looked at them, and ran away when they poked it, it was a redback (P. cinereus). If they flipped the board, and the salamander looked at them like they were a UFO and they were waiting for their abduction, those were Cheat Mountain sals.



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Old 12th April 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

It's no wonder they're Federally Threatened.



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Old 14th April 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

I went out again tonight, which was colder and dryer, and saw even more. I can easily say I spotted over thirty, and gathered another ten or so. They're just so easy to find, I'm surprised I hadn't seen them before. I also happened to find what I believe is an Ensatina, pics at bottom of the thread. I also found two ambystoma macrodactylums! But I couldn't retrieve them. I was only able to get two Ensatinas, as Ensatina and macros both seem to have much more evolved survival instincts than these silly little red backs.
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Old 14th April 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

Nice Ensatina!



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Old 15th April 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plethodon Vehiculum on campus!

Western Red-backed Salamanders are common in the majority of their range. Ensatina is a very interesting genus of salamander. I keep klauberi and xanthoptica. Just a few days ago I was in northern Curry County, Oregon trying to document a vehiculum range extension, but I only found dunni and elongatus.

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0.1.0 Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica
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