The Missouri Herpetological Association held its first spring field trip Sat 20 May 2006. A herpetofaunal survey of the Saline Valley Conservation Area, located near Eldon in Miller County, was conducted over the course of the weekend. Habitats searched included ponds, streams, wooded hillsides, fens, glades, and old homesteads.
Nine members caught more than 200 individual reptiles and amphibians, representing a total of 24 species. Most collecting activity occurred on Sat 20 May 2006, but a few species were observed or caught the previous evening (Fri 19 May 2006) by members that arrived to camp.
Temperatures on Friday exceeded 90oF but it was cloudy and cooler on Saturday, enabling the group to use the entire day for productive collecting. Several presumably common species for the area were not observed at all. The spotted salamanders were represented solely from larvae dipped from a pond and some anuran species numbers were augmented by larvae or by individual males calling Friday night or Saturday during a brief rain. The total species list along with numbers of individuals can be seen below.
The Missouri Herpetological Association will hold its first Spring field trip Saturday, May 20, 2006. For our inaugural fieldtrip we will conduct a herpetofaunal survey of the Saline Valley Conservation Area located near Eldon in Miller County. The organized count will be conducted between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. We will assemble at 9:00 at the Saline Rd. parking lot. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Saline Valley Conservation Area covers nearly 5000 acres of primarily Ozark forestland with scattered dolomite glades, numerous ponds and lakes, and ephemeral and permanent streams. We will sample both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas. Motel accommodations are available in nearby Eldon. Overnight campers should bring food for their own meals.
Trained herpetologists will lead groups of participants, verify the identification and locality of the amphibians and reptiles collected, obtain photo documentation and maintain species counts. After verification most animals will be released at the site of capture. Individuals with valid Missouri Collecting Permits for Saline Valley CA may retain selected specimens for research or display at accredited institutions.
Individuals of all ages are welcome to participate; however, adults should accompany young children. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and are advised to wear long pants and stout boots while in the field. Leather gloves, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, and water are also recommended. Participants with digital cameras and GPS units are encouraged to bring them to help document the survey. Individuals should provide their own lunches.
Results of the fieldtrip will be published in the 2006 MHA Newsletter.