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    Carter Ricks
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Back home for a bit during fall break and took a walk along the creek and field to see if anything was out on this chilly day. Only herp I saw was this cricket frog, which I'm unsure if it's nothern (Acris crepitans) or southern (Acris gryllus) as the range of both species overlap here.

#frog #frogs #frogsofinstagram #amphibians #amphibian #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Acris #wildlifephotography
Back home for a bit during fall break and took a walk along the creek and field to see if anything was out on this chilly day. Only herp I saw was this cricket frog, which I'm unsure if it's nothern (Acris crepitans) or southern (Acris gryllus) as the range of both species overlap here. #frog  #frogs  #frogsofinstagram  #amphibians  #amphibian  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Acris  #wildlifephotography 
Facebook let me know this trip was exactly 4 years ago, so now's a good time to post this here. This female gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) was found on the surface in southern Georgia during a trip to the Orianne Society's private land with @herpetologyclubncstate during fall break. We had permission to be there and survey for the wildlife, and it was a great trip.

#tortoise #tortoises #tortoisesofinstagram #reptile #reptiles #reptilesofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #wildlifephotography #gophertortoise
Facebook let me know this trip was exactly 4 years ago, so now's a good time to post this here. This female gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) was found on the surface in southern Georgia during a trip to the Orianne Society's private land with @herpetologyclubncstate during fall break. We had permission to be there and survey for the wildlife, and it was a great trip. #tortoise  #tortoises  #tortoisesofinstagram  #reptile  #reptiles  #reptilesofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #wildlifephotography  #gophertortoise 
Been bogged down with school work and unable to get out and explore, but this pileated woodpecker outside my dorm provided a much-needed spirit booster today by allowing me to take some pictures and watch him fly from tree to tree, scaling them in search of food.

#bird #birds #birdsofinstagram #woodpecker #woodpeckers #woodpeckersofinstagram #birdphotography #naturalist #NCWildlife #naturephotography #wildlifephotography #pileated
And finally, I spotted this ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus) prowling a steep slope at a high elevation late into the night after it had cooled down a lot. I was very surprised to see it out and about, and it wasn't sluggish at all. I had to do some maneuvering and gentle head holding to get the belly shot.

#snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram #reptiles #reptile #reptilesofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Diadophis #ringneck
And finally, I spotted this ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus) prowling a steep slope at a high elevation late into the night after it had cooled down a lot. I was very surprised to see it out and about, and it wasn't sluggish at all. I had to do some maneuvering and gentle head holding to get the belly shot. #snake  #snakes  #snakesofinstagram  #reptiles  #reptile  #reptilesofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Diadophis  #ringneck 
The high-elevation Plethodon species we were surveying for last weekend was the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani). This showy  species was hybridizing with P. teyahalee here where their ranges met on the mountain. The last picture shows a hybrid of the two species that shows no red legs or white spots. Most hybrids showed traces of those traits, but a few were so nondescript, if I didn't know better, I'd have called them P. metcalfi.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Plethodon
The high-elevation Plethodon species we were surveying for last weekend was the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani). This showy species was hybridizing with P. teyahalee here where their ranges met on the mountain. The last picture shows a hybrid of the two species that shows no red legs or white spots. Most hybrids showed traces of those traits, but a few were so nondescript, if I didn't know better, I'd have called them P. metcalfi. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Plethodon 
During the survey, one of the professors spotted this small copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) on the side of a steep hill at eye level. It gave me a great chance to educate students about how to tell them apart from the non-venomous similar species.

#snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram #reptiles #reptiles #reptilesofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #viper #vipers #vipersofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Agkistrodon #copperhead
During the survey, one of the professors spotted this small copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) on the side of a steep hill at eye level. It gave me a great chance to educate students about how to tell them apart from the non-venomous similar species. #snake  #snakes  #snakesofinstagram  #reptiles  #reptiles  #reptilesofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #viper  #vipers  #vipersofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Agkistrodon  #copperhead 
One of the Plethodon species we surveyed for: the southern Appalachian salamander (Plethodon teyahalee). As with the survey the weekend before, the goal was to evaluate the hybridization of the Plethodon species at varying elevations and spots on the mountain, and just like last time, P. teyahalee occupied the lowest elevation.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Plethodon
One of the Plethodon species we surveyed for: the southern Appalachian salamander (Plethodon teyahalee). As with the survey the weekend before, the goal was to evaluate the hybridization of the Plethodon species at varying elevations and spots on the mountain, and just like last time, P. teyahalee occupied the lowest elevation. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Plethodon 
Last Saturday's night survey kicked off with another lifer, but not one I was expecting. As we got to the site right at dark, someone said "Hey look, a frog." I went to ID it for them, expecting a leopard or pickerel frog, and it was this wood frog (Rana sylvatica)! I only was able to snap this picture before it hopped into some dense vegetation, but hopefully I'll see some more of these one day.

#frog #frogs #frogsofinstagram #amphibians #amphibian #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Rana #Lithobates
Last Saturday's night survey kicked off with another lifer, but not one I was expecting. As we got to the site right at dark, someone said "Hey look, a frog." I went to ID it for them, expecting a leopard or pickerel frog, and it was this wood frog (Rana sylvatica)! I only was able to snap this picture before it hopped into some dense vegetation, but hopefully I'll see some more of these one day. #frog  #frogs  #frogsofinstagram  #amphibians  #amphibian  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Rana  #Lithobates 
Black-bellied salamanders (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) were found more under rocks in the muddy seeps than in the main stream at this site.

Ocoee salamanders (Desmognathus ocoee) were also found in the stream, but I didn't find any and got no decent shots of one in a bag.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #desmognathus
Black-bellied salamanders (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) were found more under rocks in the muddy seeps than in the main stream at this site. Ocoee salamanders (Desmognathus ocoee) were also found in the stream, but I didn't find any and got no decent shots of one in a bag. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #desmognathus 
This tiny salamander is a seepage salamander (Desmognathus aeneus). These live away from the main stream, hanging around muddy seeps and under bark and logs. First time seeing this species, and I'm always up for finding lifers. Unfortunately I didn't find this one, so this was the only shot I could get after it was collected and shown to the students. The guy who collected it then took it back to where he found it when we were finished with it.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #desmognathus
This tiny salamander is a seepage salamander (Desmognathus aeneus). These live away from the main stream, hanging around muddy seeps and under bark and logs. First time seeing this species, and I'm always up for finding lifers. Unfortunately I didn't find this one, so this was the only shot I could get after it was collected and shown to the students. The guy who collected it then took it back to where he found it when we were finished with it. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #desmognathus 
The seal salamander (Desmognathus monticola) was the most abundant species found directly in and around the stream. The first picture is of one individual, and two through six are of a second individual who was much more willing to pose.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #desmognathus
Going to be dumping a bunch of pictures from this past weekend over the next few days. I participated in two more salamander surveys last Saturday: one during the day for Desmognathus, and one at night for Plethodon.

But first, this ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus) was crossing the path as we walked to the sample site.

#snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram #reptiles #reptiles #reptilesofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #NC #NorthCarolina #NCWildlife #Diadophis #ringneck
Going to be dumping a bunch of pictures from this past weekend over the next few days. I participated in two more salamander surveys last Saturday: one during the day for Desmognathus, and one at night for Plethodon. But first, this ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus) was crossing the path as we walked to the sample site. #snake  #snakes  #snakesofinstagram  #reptiles  #reptiles  #reptilesofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #NC  #NorthCarolina  #NCWildlife  #Diadophis  #ringneck 
During the salamander survey, we were also encouraged to pick up any non-Plethodon species we spotted, such as this Blue Ridge two-lined salamander (Eurycea wilderae). An Ocoee salamander (Desmognathus ocoee) was also found at one spot, but I was unable to get pictures of it.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #Eurycea
The third and final target species, found at the lowest sampled elevations, was the southern Appalachian salamander (Plethodon teyahalee). It was wild to sample one spot, find a certain Plethodon species, drive two miles, and then find a different species or hybrids that displayed traits of two or even all three target species.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #Plethodon
The third and final target species, found at the lowest sampled elevations, was the southern Appalachian salamander (Plethodon teyahalee). It was wild to sample one spot, find a certain Plethodon species, drive two miles, and then find a different species or hybrids that displayed traits of two or even all three target species. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #Plethodon 
The second species found as we moved down in elevation was the Jordan's (or red-cheeked) salamander (Plethodon jordani). All salamanders were out and about on the forest floor, searching for mates and food.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #Plethodon
Participated in an ongoing salamander survey last night that was looking to see the species makeup and hybridization of three Plethodon species at varying elevations and spots on a mountain.

The first species, found at the highest elevation, was the southern gray-cheeked salamander (Plethodon metcalfi). #salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #Plethodon
Participated in an ongoing salamander survey last night that was looking to see the species makeup and hybridization of three Plethodon species at varying elevations and spots on a mountain. The first species, found at the highest elevation, was the southern gray-cheeked salamander (Plethodon metcalfi). #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #Plethodon 
A newly-fledged eastern bluebird sits atop a gravestone and a wooden cross in a cemetery on campus. It's a bit poetic; death and new life together.

#bird #birds #birdsofinstagram #birdphotography #naturalist #NCWildlife #naturephotography #Cullowhee #WCU #WesternCarolinaUniversity #bluebird
Two more salamanders from yesterday in northern Georgia. I consulted a herping group for IDs, and the consensus was that they are both either spotted dusky salamanders (Desmognathus conanti) or northern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus), with the first being a juvenile and the second an adult. Both species occur in that area and hybridize, which makes pinpointing the exact species difficult.

#salamander #salamanders #salamandersofinstagram #amphibian #amphibians #amphibiansofinstagram #herp #herps #herping #herpetology #herpsofinstagram #naturephotography #naturalist #desmognathus
Two more salamanders from yesterday in northern Georgia. I consulted a herping group for IDs, and the consensus was that they are both either spotted dusky salamanders (Desmognathus conanti) or northern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus), with the first being a juvenile and the second an adult. Both species occur in that area and hybridize, which makes pinpointing the exact species difficult. #salamander  #salamanders  #salamandersofinstagram  #amphibian  #amphibians  #amphibiansofinstagram  #herp  #herps  #herping  #herpetology  #herpsofinstagram  #naturephotography  #naturalist  #desmognathus