Ohio Reptiles and Amphibians, 2011

Here's some reptiles and amphibians that I observed in southern Ohio in 2011, in chronological order. Maybe also a few people and other things.

Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) larvae observed in mid February.

Longtailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) larva seen in early March, 11 mm TL.

Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) larva found with the above Longtailed Salamander larva, 16 mm TL.

Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus) larva, 75 mm TL.

A good-sized adult Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus), 184 mm TL.

A closer look.

A small adult Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus).

Lifting rock slabs covered by a couple of inches of water in April often revealed this:

Seeds for the next generation of Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera).

A good-sized adult Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber), 140 mm TL. I found it by dipnetting submerged leaf litter for larvae. Never got an adult Pseudotriton that way before... Not complaining.

A ventral view of the above Red Salamander. In Ohio, mature Red Salamanders always seem to show spotting on their throat and chest.

I dipnetted several salamander larvae from a pool in early April:

A rather small and lightly colored Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) larva. It was 26 mm TL.

A larger Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) larva from the pool, around 35 mm TL, usual size for the time of year.

Longtailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) larvae from the same pool, around 25 mm TL, usual size for this time of year.

More larvae from the pool. The big guy is a Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus), 55 mm TL.

A few days later:

Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum), female with eggs.

Another Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum).

Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus).

Close up.

A very large Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), observed basking at the edge of a pond.

A Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris), attempting to hide.

Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus).

A closer look.

A nice large Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus) larva.

Close up.

A young Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) larva, 17 mm TL.

A very large Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus). It measured right at 8.0" TL and is largest gyro I've ever seen.

Head shot.

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus).

Ventral shot. In Ohio, mature Mud Salamanders never seem to show any spotting on their throat or chest.

A large Kentucky Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi) larva. I have the impression that duryi larvae transform at a smaller size than G. p. p but this one was very large. It is a variable characteristic. Here's a couple more shots of it:

Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus), posed on the carpet it was found under.

Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

A young Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus).


A hatchling Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) that Brian spotted.

Another look. The numbers indicate centimeters.

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus).

Ventral shot.

Morel mushroom. Several of these were found near the above Mud Salamander. Regretfully, I'm not a big mushroom fan...

Not long after finding the Mud Salamander, I experience a bad case of "driver error"... I think I was pulling over to the side of the road to set up a U-turn... wound up driving one of the front wheels off a little cliff, leaving the truck resting of it's frame. Any farther, and we would have been in the creek. Fortunately, we were able to jack the truck up and pile rocks under the tire. This required several iterations. We were in the middle of BFE, no cars came by the entire time we were stuck. Photo by Brian.

It also started to rain harder. Dirty work! Photo by Brian.

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) larvae.

A closer look at one of them.

Some scale for the Marbled Salamander larvae.

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) larva. Nice long gills on this one.

It was found in early May; it will probably start transformation within a few weeks.

Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus).

Redbellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), found by Beth. I don't see many of these in southern Ohio.

Another look.

Kentucky Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi).

A closer look.

Two Kentucky Spring Salamanders (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi) were found under one rock. There was another large rock that had three adults under it. This is the first time I've ever experienced doubles or triples with adult gyros.

The larger one from above.

Here's the habitat. I found the last spring salamander of the day under one of the rocks at the right edge of the creek, adjacent to the large tree.

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), as found.

Brian, Jim, Mike, and Beth.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under tin.

Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus).

Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

Brian admiring the Milksnake.

Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) larvae dipnetted in late May. There are two age classes here.

The larger one will be transforming shortly.

The smaller ones will need another year.

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona).

Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) larvae found in late May.

These things are tiny!

Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus).

A young Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) that Brian found.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under a board.

An unidentified Ambystoma larva, over 2" TL. I'm guessing that it is a Spotted Salamander... Anybody?

A closeup.

A Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), in our swimming pool.

Another Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), in a bush near the pool.

I tried a little late-spring road cruising:

A Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) that looks a bit like a Pickerel Frog.

A Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris) found just down the road.

Black Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta).

A young Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

Another look.

Dekay's Snake (Storeria dekayi), as found under cover.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under a board.

Worm Snake (Carphophis amoenus).

Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae), as found under a board.

Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus), as found in carpet.

A young Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra).

The ventral pattern on this one formed a longitudinal stripe.

Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina).

A Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillar found devouring Roxanne's fennel plant.

Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

A board I lifted.

A closer look under the board. I didn't see this at first... If you look carefully in the previous photo you can see it. Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix).

Dekay's Snake (Storeria dekayi), as found under cover.

Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). Almost as found under a board in mid summer.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), almost as found on a road at dusk.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), as found under tin after dark.

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), as seen on one of our upstairs windows one night.

Another look. The moon was full.

A metamorph Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri) observed in mid July.

A ventral view.

A Spider Wasp (family Pompilidae) doing it's thing in our driveway. It was having some trouble dragging its victim over the folds of the drop "cloth" -- we were doing some painting. I gave it some assistance which it seemed to appreciate. I followed it for a while. The wasp would pause periodically to do some reconnaissance and then get back to work. It was very purposeful. Unfortunately, I lacked the patience to follow the process to its end.

Some wildlife in our backyard. The funny thing is that the turkeys are not afraid of the deer at all. In fact, the turkeys chase the deer.

The turkeys also chase each other.

A Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found under a board. It was deep in the "blue", preparing to shed.

A Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum), as found under cover.

A board I lifted. Two Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix) and a Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

The two Copperheads. The milksnake didn't sit still for photos.

A hatchling Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) found in mid September.

My pants after a walk through a field in mid September. A bunch of burrs -- one of the perils of late summer and fall...

A Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), as found under tin on a rainy day in early October.

Vinny multitasking on Pearl Harbor Day. The newt was out on the crawl in 40F.

The rest of these photos are from 11 December 2011, which would prove to be my last Ohio outing of the year. The overnight low was 14F and temperatures probably did not go above freezing the whole day.

Always interesting to contemplate the past.

There was a vernal pool right next to where we parked. After breaking up the ice, it didn't take long to find this:

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) larva.

A closer look.

A friend and I hiked up a creek. A little ways up we found this spot:

Specifically, the little pool under the tree on the left, adjacent to the main creek.

A closer look:

We had to break through about a quarter of an inch of ice. Dipnetting the pool yielded two Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) larvae, two Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) larvae, and several Rana (probably Green Frog) tadpoles.

Two of the larvae.

A closer look at one of the Mud Salamanders.

Further up the stream, we found this:

A very similar pool, but it was not frozen.

Here's what it produced:

Two Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus) larvae and five Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) larvae (one of the twolines didn't make the photo).

Well that's it for 2011, on to the next year!