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.

Species Common Name Number Photos
Ambystoma maculatum Spotted Salamander 2 No photo from this location
Eurycea longicauda Dark-sided Salamander 2 Photo
Plethodon albagula Western Slimy Salamander 24 Photo
Bufo americanus American Toad 9 No photo from this location
Acris crepitans Blanchard’s Cricket Frog 62 No photo from this location
Hyla chrysoscelis Cope’s Gray Treefrog 1 No photo from this location
Hyla versicolor Gray Treefrog 14 No photo from this location
Rana catesbeiana Bullfrog 5 No photo from this location
Rana clamitans Green Frog 28 Photo
Rana palustris Pickerel Frog 1 Photo
Rana sphenocephala Southern Leopard Frog 40 No photo from this location
Gastrophryne carolinensis Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad 2 Photo
Terrapene carolina Three-toed Box Turtle 18 Photo
Sceloporus consobrinus Eastern Fence Lizard 2 No photo from this location
Scincella lateralis Ground Skink 9 No photo from this location
Carphophis vermis Western Worm Snake 2 No photo from this location
Coluber constrictor Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer 2 No photo from this location
Diadophis punctatus Prairie Ringneck Snake 14 No photo from this location
Lampropeltis getula Speckled Kingsnake 1 Photo
Lampropeltis triangulum Red Milksnake 2 No photo from this location
Nerodia sipedon Northern Water Snake 2 No photo from this location
Storeria dekayi Midland Brown Snake 1 Photo
Storeria occipitomaculata Northern Redbelly Snake 1 No photo from this location
Agkistrodon contortrix Copperhead 3 Photo

Group Photograph

Spring Field Trip 2006 Group Photograph

Front row (seated): Amber Edwards (MDC), Andrea Drayer (UMC), Kate Kelly (MDC).
Second row (standing): Jeff Briggler (MDC), Ann Schlosser (UMC), Liz Forbes (MDC), Richard Daniel (UMC), Brian Edmond (MSU), Noah Gordon (UMC).
Key: MDC=Missouri Department of Conservation, MSU=Missouri State University, UMC=University of Missouri at Columbia.

Other Photographs

Original Announcement

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.