A couple of weeks prior to this day I had made the move to Carbondale, and started college at Southern Illinois University.
I am excited to go here, mainly for its close proximity to some amazing herping. There is so much to find in the Shawnee
hills that there wasn't up near Chicago. This day was the first I had the chance to get out for an extended period to try
to find some critters. I went with Mike, who goes by BasketBreaker on FieldHerpForum.com. He goes to SIU also. We were
targeting Dusky Salamanders, which has a very restricted range in Illinois, known from a few isolated populations in the extreme
southern part of the state. We arrived at the spot we would be searching, and before long we were both finding salamanders.
First, I found a Cave Salamander, and a few minutes later Mike found the first dusky. All together, we found about 25 salamanders.
Spotted Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus conanti)
Since it didn't take long to find our target, we decided to head a little farther, into the range of the southern Two
Lined Salamander. Hopefully we would be able to find a couple before the light disappeared. On the way we found some abandoned
barns, where we uncovered a few snakes, including four southern Black Racers, and a hatchling Black Kingsnake.
Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus
Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra)
We came to the small stream where we would look for the Two Lined salamanders as the sun was setting. This made it pretty
hard to see past the surface of the water, and difficult to find salamanders. None the less, Mike found a very small, newly
transformed salamander. We are not sure of the species, but it is either Eurycea cirrigera, or Eurycea longicauda.
I am leaning toward longicauda.
A little later, I found a large Longtail Salamander under a rock.
Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda)