2017 VHS Survey Summaries


Big Woods 1 | Big Woods 2 | Mole Hill | Spring Survey | Herp Blitz


VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 1
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday April 23rd - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

10 committed herpers, Todd Georgel, Jacob Hinton, Julie Hinton, Brian Kim, Karl Kratzer, Catey Lavagnino, Radie May, Dave Perry, Ned Rose, and Patrick Wamsley surveyed different habitats within Big Woods State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (BW). The purpose of the survey was to provide VDGIF and BW with an inventory of amphibian and reptile species located there with special emphasis on species with conservation status of Tier I-IV.

During the survey the skies were overcast with some occasional rain and drizzle. Temperatures were unseasonably cool, a constant 12.5 ᵒC (54 to 55ᵒF).

Despite the very cool weather conditions, 8 amphibian species (5 anurans, 3 salamanders) and 2 reptile species (1 snake, 1 turtle) were documented. However, only one conservation status species was encountered (Tier III-Woodland Box Turtle). One new Sussex County record was identified, White Spotted Slimy Salamander.

Some diverse habitats were explored and should yield many additional species observations on a warmer day. Big Woods 2 is scheduled for May 7 @ 8:30 AM.

Thanks to all who participated, with a special thanks to Dennis Gaston and Matt Kline for agreeing to allow VHS to survey BW.



VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 2
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday May 7th - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

14 volunteer herpers, Liz Allan, Travis Anthony, Luca Catanzaro, Dane Conley, Todd Georgel, David Hart, Jacob Hinton, Brian Kim, Mallory Kim, Karl Kratzer, Dave Perry, Ned Rose, David Van Gelder and Susan Watson surveyed different habitats within Big Woods State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (BW). The purpose of the survey was to provide VDGIF and BW with an inventory of amphibian and reptile species located there with special emphasis on species with conservation status of Tier I-IV.

During the survey the morning sky was clear and sunny with some clouds appearing and a brief drizzle in the afternoon. Temperatures were cool, ranging from 11 to 18ᵒ C (52 to 65ᵒF).

Despite the cool weather conditions, 14 amphibian species (7 anurans and 7 salamanders) and 15 reptile species (5 snakes, 2 lizards and 8 turtles) were documented. Noteworthy species included an Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog and five species with tiered conservation status (Tier-lll Carpenter Frog and Woodland Box Turtle and Tier lV Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Eastern Mud Salamander and Yellow-bellied Slider). The Eastern Mud Salamander is also a Sussex County record.

The combination of the April 23 and May 7 surveys resulted in the documentation of 33 species, 18 amphibians and 15 reptiles.

Thanks to all who participated, with a special thanks to Dennis Gaston and Matt Kline for agreeing to allow VHS to survey BW.



VHS - Mole Hill Survey
Sunday May 14 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Mole Hill – Rockingham Co., VA
Sunday May 14 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

The VHS conducted a survey at Mole Hill in Rockingham County, VA on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, 2017. There were 13 participants (one of which was a herp-enthusiast mom) in attendance and 139 individuals of 3 species of herpetofauna were documented: 1 Northern Ring-necked Snake, 2 Eastern Gartersnakes, and 136 Red-backed Salamanders.

Mole Hilll is an interesting place to hold a herpetological survey because it’s on top of a volcano! This site has been used as a study site for geologists at James Madison University, but has never been surveyed for herpetofauna before. Mole Hill is comprised of volcanic rock called basalt which is unusual for the area around nearby Harrisonburg which is comprised of limestone. Basalt can also be found in the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains not too far away in Virginia. Mole Hill is owned by Mole Hill Bikes and VHS would like to extend a big thanks to them for allowing us to partake in our herp survey on their property.

Rockingham County has been surveyed by Harry G. M. Jopson of VHS who surveyed the county extensively between 1936-1984.



2017 VHS Spring Survey/Newport News BioBlitz Summary
May 19th - 21st
Newport News Park

On May 19-21, 41 volunteers participated in the Newport News Park BioBlitz. At the conclusion of the event the survey teams found 36 species and observed over 393 animals. Herpers who love amphibians were treated to 16 species of anurans and salamanders. The highlight being Ambystoma mabeei (Mabee’s Salamander) and Amphiuma means (Two-toed Amphiuma). Reptile lovers were not disappointed either. We found 20 species of reptiles. The highlight for snake lovers was observing 6 Agkistrodon piscivorus (Eastern Cottonmouths) and two mating Lampropeltis getula (Eastern Kingsnakes). John White also found an albino Carphophis a. amoenus (Eastern Wormsnake). The VHS would like to thank everyone who came out and made this such a meaningful survey. We also appreciate all the time and effort Kory Steele and others put into organizing this event.




12th Annual HerpBlitz Summary
June 10th - 11th
Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area

The survey of Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area was in the far southwestern portion of Virginia, in Washington County. Seven volunteers over three days found 400 amphibians and reptiles, the vast majority being salamanders. We saw one Pickerel Frog, and heard Spring Peepers, Green Frogs and a Bullfrog. We saw Northern Watersnakes, a Ring-necked Snake, and a Milk Snake. A Gartersnake and an Eastern Ratsnake were found dead on the road. We found eleven species of salamanders, with over 375 individuals. This high elevation site enjoys cool temperatures where salamanders rather than reptiles thrive. There were large numbers of Alleghany Mountain Dusky and Gray-cheeked Salamanders. We also found impressive numbers of Red-backed and Slimy Salamanders. The highlight of the survey was a night hike along cliffs where Green Salamanders were observed. For those who enjoy salamanders, the southwestern corner of Virginia is one area that can’t be missed!


Species/Site

1

2

3a

3b

4

5

6

Misc.

Total

Amphibians

Lithobates catesbeianus

1C

1

Lithobates clamitans

4C

4

Lithobates palustris

1

1

Pseudacris crucifer

10C

10

Aneides aeneus

3

3

Desmognathus fuscus

3

4

2

9

Desmognathus monticola

5

5

Desmognathus ochrophaeus

10

20

15

25

19

19

47

155

Eurycea cirrigera

1

1

1

3

Gyrinophilus porphyriticus

1

1

Notopthalamus viridescens

2

2

Plethodon cinereus

6

14

18

6

3

7

54

Plethodon glutinosus

2

7

26

3

3

2

43

Plethodon montanus

16

25

23

27

9

1

101

Pseudotriton ruber

1

2

3

Reptiles

Diadophus punctatus edwardsii

1

1

Lampropeltis triangulum

1

1

Nerodia sipedon

3

2

5

Pantherophis alleghaniensis

1DOR

1

Thamnophis sirtalis

1DOR

1

Total

32

61

36

88

63

39

64

21

404



FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.

BOX TURTLE REPORTING

SPADEFOOT REPORTING

Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image