The Missouri Herpetological Association held its third annual spring field trip on the weekend of 25 – 27 April 2008 at Saint Francois State Park, Saint Francois County, Missouri.
Seventeen members, representing five different institutions, caught more than 543 individual reptiles and amphibians, representing a total of 32 species. Most collecting activity occurred on Sat 26 April 2008, but some individual animals were caught on Fri or Sun. The entire weekend was characterized by cool evening temperatures and warm and sunny daytime conditions. The high temperature on Sat approached 70oF. Habitats searched included roads, ponds, spring-fed streams, fens, rocky wooded hillsides, forest, grassy areas, and glades.
During the survey, a simple datasheet was used to record all finds and a list of guidelines and target species was provided to each of the participants.
Several new localities were documented for Saint Francois State Park, including an “open circle” county record (i.e., previously reported record that lacks a supporting voucher) (Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)) and six new county records: Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum), Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps), Northern Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus), Rough Earthsnake (Virginia striatula), Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata). The total species list along with numbers of individuals can be seen below. Some amphibian species’ numbers were augmented with eggs, larvae, or calling males (e.g., Central Newt, Spotted Salamander, Marbled Salamander, Cricket Frog, Spring Peeper, Cope’s Gray Treefrog, Green Frog, etc.). In these cases, actual counted individuals are represented in the count and an unknown number of additional animals are represented with the plus (+) sign. For Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), the number listed is a count of egg masses (not individuals) plus one adult. DeKay’s Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi) was represented by a single dead individual.
The MHA would like to thank the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for providing permission to use state park property for the field trip. Special appreciation is extended to Jamie Hubert for her hospitality and for leading the hikes to the glade and fen.
The Third Annual Missouri Herpetological Association (MHA) Spring Field Trip will be held on Sat 26 April 2008 at Saint Francois State Park, near Bonne Terre, in Saint Francois Co MO. In case of inclement weather, a cancellation announcement and an alternate date will be posted on the MHA home page. The purpose of the trip is to conduct a herpetofaunal survey of the state park. The organized count will be conducted between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. We will assemble at Shelter #1 next to the Mooner’s Hollow Trailhead. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Saint Francois State Park covers approximately 2,700 acres of primarily Ozark forestland with glades, ponds, a fen, and ephemeral and permanent streams. We will conduct a survey of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Campsites are available at the park on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations can be made on-line at www.icampmo.com or by calling the reservation center at 1-877-422-6766. Basic campsites cost $9.00 a night. Motel accommodations are available in nearby Bonne Terre. Overnight campers should bring food and drink for their own meals.
Trained herpetologists will lead groups of participants, verify 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 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 this trip, including photos of animals and participants, will be published here and in the 2008 MHA Newsletter.