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AN INTRODUCTION TO AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Steve Bennett Krista Noel Mark Danaher Wade Kalinowsky Dr. Whit Gibbons. THE STUDY OF REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS IS CALLED HERPETOLOGY FROM THE GREEK WORD HERPETON … MEANING CREEPING

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AN INTRODUCTION TO AMPHIBIANS AND

REPTILES IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Steve Bennett

Krista Noel

Mark Danaher

Wade Kalinowsky

Dr. Whit Gibbons


THE STUDY OF REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS IS CALLED

HERPETOLOGY

FROM THE GREEK WORD HERPETON … MEANING CREEPING

THING, AND YES IT’S THE SAME ROOT WORD FOR HERPETIC

VIRUSES …

SOUTH CAROLINA HAS APPROXIMATELY 143 SPECIES OF

“NATIVE” AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES … WHY APPROXIMATE?

NEWLY DISCOVERED SPECIES, PHYLOGENETIC AND TAXONOMIC

REVISIONS … AND THEN THERE’S THE “EXOTICS”!

SC IS IN THE TOP 10 IN THE US FOR AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE

DIVERSITY!


THE HISTORY OF HERPETOLOGY IN SC GOES BACK TO COLONIAL

TIMES. EARLY EXPLORERS AND NATURALISTS PUBLISHED ACCOUNTS

OF THEIR TRAVELS AND THE PLANTS AND ANIMALS THEY

ENCOUNTERED AND PRODUCED ILLUSTRTATIONS OF THESE SPECIES.

IN 1709 JOHN LAWSON PRODUCED “INSECTS OF CAROLINA”, WHICH

INCLUDED SEVERAL AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE SPECIES. AT THAT TIME

MOST “LOWER LIFE” FORMS WERE GROUPED TOGETHER.


CHARLESTON WAS HOME TO THREE IMPORTANT “EARLY” NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

BETWEEN 1731 -1743 MARK CATESBY PRODUCED “NATURAL HISTORY OF CAROLINA, FLORIDA AND THE BAHAMA ISLANDS”.

VOLUME 2 OF THIS WORK CONTAINED A NUMBER OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES. THE BULLFROG (Rana catesbeiana)

WAS NAMED FOR CATESBY.


IN THE 1760’S DR. ALEXANDER GARDEN, ANOTHER CHARLESTON NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

RESIDENT, WORKED WITH LINNAEUS ON THE 12TH EDITION OF

SYSTEMA NATURAE, WHICH CONTAINED 13 NEW SPECIES FROM

SOUTH CAROLINA, PROVIDED BY DR. GARDEN.

BETWEEN 1850 AND 1860 CHARLESTON RESIDENT DR. JOHN

HOLBROOK PRODUCED THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE TEXT

ON NORTH AMERICAN HERPETOLOGY!


THE WORK CONTINUED, AND CONTINUES STILL: NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

E. BURNHAM CHAMBERLAIN – CHARLESTON MUSEUM

DR. JULIAN HARRISON – COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON/CHARLESTON

MUSEUM

DR. GEORGE FOLKERTS – CLEMSON UNIVERSITY-AUBURN U.

DR. WHIT GIBBONS – UGA’S SAVANNAH RIVER ECOLOGY LAB


SCDNR- NONGAME AND ENDANGERED SPECIES NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

PROGRAM

STATE WILDLIFE GRANT AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE

PROJECTS


IDENTIFYING AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES ISN’T NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

ROCKET SCIENCE … BUT

APPROXIMATELY 143 SPECIES OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES

3-4 SNAKES AND 3-4 TURTLES UNDERGO PATTERN CHANGE

FROM JUVENILE TO ADULT

APPROXIMATELY 38 SPECIES OF AMPHIBIANS, IN PARTICULAR FROGS,

HAVE LARVAL FORMS THAT ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM

THEIR ADULT FORMS


WHAT DO WE USE? NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

RESOURCES:

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

ONLINE/WEBSITES

PEOPLE


BOOKS AND LITERATURE NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

FIELD GUIDES: Brief descriptions of species appearance, habitat preferences, life history and geographic distribution. Tips on separating “difficult” species. “Made” to go into the field.

REFERENCE BOOKS: Typically restricted to a “group” of species, greater detail on life history/ecology, better Literature Cited section.

LITERATURE: Articles from peer reviewed journals such as Herpetologica, Journal of Herpetology or Copeia which detail latest research results.


LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:


HABITAT MATTERS … SOMETIMES NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:


VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE … NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

UNLESS IT JUST CONFUSES YOU!


Midlands Watersnakes NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

All from the same stream

In Whitehall subdivision


EASTERN BOX TURTLES NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:


NO FIELD GUIDE OR REFERENCE BOOK CAN DEPICT THE NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

ENTIRE RANGE OF VARIABILITY WITHIN A GIVEN SPECIES!

THEY CAN, HOWEVER INDICATE WHETHER INDIVIDUALS

WIHTIN A SPECIES ARE VARIABLE, AND SAY SOMETHING

ABOUT THE RANGE OF VARIATION … EVERY BLACK RACER

LOOKS LIKE EVERY OTHER BLACK RACER, BUT NO TWO

MIDLANDS WATERSNAKES, OR RAT SNAKES ETC. LOOK

EXACTLY ALIKE.

SEVERAL FROG SPECIES, MOST NOTABLY TREEFROGS, ARE

NOTORIOUS FOR CHANGING COLOR AND PATTERN … LIKE

CHAMELEONS!

THESE ARE ALL

BIRD-VOICED

TREEFROGS

FROM BLUFF

LAKE


WWW.SNAKESANDFROGS.COM NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

GENE OTT

WIN OTT


www.uga.edu/srelherp/ NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:


www.parcplace.org NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

www.parcplace.org/southeast


www.carolinaherpatlas.org/ NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

Carolina Herp Atlas

Project Overview

The Carolina Herp Atlas is a project developed by the Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory and Davidson College Information Technology Services. The primary objective of the Carolina Herp Atlas is to provide detailed data on the distribution of reptiles and amphibians of North and South Carolina. The resulting database can be used by:

1) you; to track your personal observations,

2) other herpersandamateur naturalists; to view species occurences via county-level distribution maps, and

3) Scientists; to understand activity periods, habitat relationships, current distributions and other facets of amphibian and reptile ecology in the Carolinas so that we can better conserve these important components of our natural heritage.


amphibiaweb.org/ NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

A M P H I B I A W E B

AmphibiaWeb is an online system that provides access to information on amphibian declines, conservation, natural history, and taxonomy.


THERE ARE HERPETOLOGISTS AT MANY OF OUR NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

STATE’S UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES:

CLEMSON – ROB BALDWIN

USC UPSTATE – MELISSA PILGRIM

ERSKINE – MARY LANG EDWARDS

USC AIKEN – HUGH HANLIN

WOFFORD – “AB” ABERCROMBIE

USC – JAYME WALDRON

FRANCIS MARION – JEFF CAMPER, PETER KING

USC SALKEHATCHIE – ERAN KILPATRICK

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON - ALLISON WELCH

COASTAL CAROLINA – DEBRA HUTCHINSON, SCOTT PARKER

SREL – KURT BUHLMANN, TRACEY TUBERVILLE, WHIT GIBBONS (RET)

MIKE DORCAS – DAVIDSON

SCOTT PFAFF – RIVERBANKS ZOO

BARBARA FOSTER – GREENVILLE ZOO


AS “BUDDING” HERPETOLOGISTS YOU WILL, OF COURSE, WANT NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

TO CATCH THAT SNAKE, LIZARD FROG ETC. … AND THAT’S OK …

YOU JUST DON’T NEED TO KEEP IT OR PRESERVE IT TO GET IT

CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED OR DOCUMENT IT’S PRESENCE!

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS , WITH METADATA, CAN SERVE AS

VOUCHER SPECIMENS IN MANY MUSEUMS, AND CAN BE

USED TO IDENTIFY MOST SPECIES.

SOUND FILES FROM DIGITAL RECORDERS CAN BE USED TO

IDENTIFY CALLING MALE FROGS AND DOCUMENT THE SPECIES

PRESENCE DURING BREEDING SEASONS.


SOUTHERN TOAD NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

FOWLER’S TOAD

NO CRANIAL KNOBS,

3+ WARTS/SPOT

CRANIAL KNOBS

OAK TOAD

LIGHT STRIPE ENTIRE

LENGTH OF BODY

MARK DANAHER


SQUIRREL TREEFROG NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

PINEWOODS TREEFROG

“FLASH COLORS” PRESENT

ON PINEWOODS TREEFROG

NOT ON SQUIRREL TREEFROG


HEADS CAN BE IMPORTANT TOO! NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

MIDLANDS WATERSNAKE

COTTONMOUTH aka WATER MOCCASIN

RIVER COOTER FLORIDA COOTER YELLOWBELLY TURTLE


CORAL SNAKE NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

SCARLET KINGSNAKE

SCARLET SNAKE


BARKING TREEFROG NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

TWO-TOED AMPHIUMA

MARK DANAHER

MUD SNAKE-JUVENILE


CANEBRAKE (TIMBER) RATTLESNAKE NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

COPE’S GRAY TREEFROG

RON AHLE

SPRING PEEPER


PINE WOODS TREEFROG NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

COMMON MUSK TURTLE

KRISTA NOEL

CANEBRAKE (TIMBER) RATTLESNAKE


FROG CALLS NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

THERE ARE 30 SPECIES OF FROGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

MALES OF EACH SPECIES HAVE A DISTINCT MATING CALL

AND CAN BE IDENTIFIED USING THESE CALLS DURING

BREEDING SEASON.

SOME SPECIES HAVE A “TREE” CALL, OR A “RELEASE” CALL

THAT IS DISTINCT FROM THE MATING CALL. BUT IN GENERAL

IT’S ONE CALL PER SPECIES.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF RECORDED RESOURCES FOR

IDENTIFYING FROG CALLS


www.pwrc.usgs.gov/naamp/ NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:


SURVEY TECHNIQUES NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

TIME OR AREA CONSTRAINED SURVEY

DRIFT FENCE WITH PITFALL TRAPS AND/OR “SNAKE TRAPS”

COVER OBJECT ARRAYS

DIP-NETTING

HOOP-MINNOW TRAPS


VERY FEW OF “OUR” SPECIES ARE: NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

ACTIVE DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, ESPECIALLY

IN THE WARMER MONTHS

ACTIVE ON THE SURFACE … MOST ARE UNDERGROUND

IN STUMPHOLES, OTHER “BURROWS”, UNDER BARK,

UNDER LOGS, ROCKS ETC. … SOME ARE VERY WELL

CAMOUFLAGED AND HIDING IN “PLAIN SIGHT”

ACTIVE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME EITHER DURING

THE YEAR OR ON A DAILY BASIS

IN OTHER WORDS … THE “CHALLENGE” IS NOT SO MUCH

IDENTIFYING THEM, BUT FINDING THEM!


250+ SPECIES OF NATURALISTS WHO ADVANCED HERPETOLOGY:

VERTEBBRATES AND

INVERTEBRATES

RANGEWIDE!


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