Mucking for Muds

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

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Posts: 5
Joined: May 7th, 2021, 11:03 am
Location: North Carolina

Mucking for Muds

Post by nvherper258 »

For the last three years or so, I've been spending the chillier winter months searching for one thing; mud salamanders. This species has been able to give me the slip almost every time I have tried for it. With that being said, I've managed to build up a decent amount of photos of this secretive species, so I wanted to take the time to give them the appreciation they deserve.

Flash back to 2022, at the tail end of an extensive gulf coast trip for SIren and Amphiuma. The route I had planned back home would take me through some great habitat for Pseudotriton, and I was itching to help fill the void left by not finding my targets further south. So, I met up with a buddy in the piedmont of Georgia to hopefully turn things around.

Upon reaching the habitat, a mucky floodplain slough filled with iron oxidizing bacteria and downed woody debris, we promptly began flipping and uncovered a handful of desmogs. Continuing further along the bluff, it wasn't long until we struck red gold.

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The largest (top) and smallest (bottom) of ten Pseudotriton montanus

I was ecstatic to have finally seen my first adults of the species, and upon returning to North Carolina quickly took to trying to find habitat of my own. A memory of a spot I had visited quite a while ago surfaced in my mind, so I made the trek one day on my way home to see my parents. Having never seen my target here before, I was skeptical until I rolled an almost fully submerged log.

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A battle scarred Pseudotriton montanus

Returning to the site almost exactly two weeks ago, it was much easier to turn up an individual now that I knew exactly which seepage they enjoyed.

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A much smaller, equally as scarred Pseudotriton montanus

My most recent dive into the world of muds was probably my most successful. On a rainy night last week, I hopped in the car with a few friends and took to a new road I had been meaning to check out. Bordered by a large floodplain swamp, this area mirrored the spot in Georgia where I had seen my first oh so long ago. As it would happen, my hunch was correct, and in quick succession we got to help more than a dozen young individuals off of the moderately busy road.

My favorite Pseudotriton montanus of the night

Searching for muds is a bit of a rollercoaster, and it has taken me quite a while to amass even these photos, but the hunt keeps me sane until snakes return in the spring. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.
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Posts: 8
Joined: February 21st, 2023, 4:18 pm
Location: 50 miles N of NYC

Re: Mucking for Muds

Post by Cebusman »

Congratulations! Thanks for the lovely Pics! I am getting psyched about the upcoming Spring migration here in SE NY. First, a trip out to Southern CA to visit my son during his Spring Break and hopefully a day or two out in the desert herping. Hope it is warm enough for things too be out.
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