The Year of the Salamander is well under way and I'm planning another trip to Appalachia in hopes to find a number of salamander species. I went to the lower stretch of the Appalachians in Tennessee and North Carolina in mid March in hopes to find a number of salamander species. I did find quite a few species, but not as many as I would have hoped. I did find some very neat species such as this Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) pictured here, however. Consequently, I decided to make another trip to lower Appalachia to try to get more salamander species now that it is warmer.
You may ask why Appalachia? Well, the southeastern U.S. is home to the greatest salamander diversity in the world. No where else on the planet can I find so many different species so closely packed together. A number of species such as the Pigeon Mountain Salamander (Plethodon petraeus), Cheoah Bald Salamander (Plethodon cheoah), and Peaks of Otter Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti) are confined to single mountain peaks. In this trip, I hope to find some of these endemics. It's something that cannot easily be done anywhere else.
It would not surprise me if I visited at least once more this year. I also plan on hitting the Ozarks and Ouachitas when are another center of salamander diversity in the U.S. The Year of the Salamander is moving along!