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Old 6th June 2005   #1
john
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I took the Salamander Course form UTK's Field School. Spent Saturday at 4 different sites, from a southern hardwood forest at 900 feet to the spruce/fir forest at 6000 feet. At lower elevations, we found adults and juveniles, at the middle elevations adults and larvae, and gravid females at higher elevations.

Found the following species:
Spotted Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus conanti)
Santeetlah Dusky (D. santeetlah)
Seal Salamander (D. monticola)
Black-bellied (D.quadramaculatus)
Shovel-nosed (D. marmoratus)
Ocoee (D. ocoee)
Imitator (D. imitator)
Pigmy (D. wrighti)
Southern Red-backed (Plethedon serratus)
Northern Slimy (P. glutinosis)
Southern Appalachian (P. teyahalee)
Red-cheecked (Jordan's) (P. jordani)
Black-chinned Red (Pseudotriton ruber)
Blue Ridge Spring (Gyrinophilus prophyriticus)

What struck me, even more than the variety of species, was the abundance of these little guys. In suitable habitat, there were salamanders under all available cover. My personal best was five individuals of three different species under one rock.

Our instructor had a brilliant idea for having a group of 12 people look at an individual salamander - we put the little guys in Ziploc bags with a couple mLs of water. That way we could all handle them, and even look at their bellies, without overheating or dehydration.

Of course, that wasn't very photogenic. So we had our shutterbugs set up around an appropriate stage (usually a mossy rock) where we'd release the specimen. The little guy would have to make its way through these salamander paparazzi to safety.

It was a great day in the Smokies. Consider attending next spring.



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Old 6th June 2005   #2
leanne
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Everybody needs to converge at my campground that I manage in east TN!Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 6th June 2005   #3
john
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HEY! My wife and I have been talking about heading down that way this summer sometime. Where is the campground?



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Old 6th June 2005   #4
leanne
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It is in Erwin, TN----right on the western NC border! Here is the website: www.nolichucky.com

Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 7th June 2005   #5
leanne
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Sorry about the website---will try the powers that be to solve the problem there.....



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Old 7th June 2005   #6
john
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I didn't get any popups. Guess my blocker is pretty good. We're giving some serious thought into coming down there in maybe late august. I know it'll be blazing hot but we do what we can.



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Old 7th June 2005   #7
john
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I didn't get any pop-ups, either.

Mike - Still owe you that beer, and there's a British pub with an impressive selection in Gatlinburg......



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Old 7th June 2005   #8
leanne
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The weather in the gorge is pretty cool compared to the rest of the area, especially in August---a lot has to do with being right next to the river and the shady National Forest, I think!



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