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Hiking the DC Metro Area

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by Shrike, May 22, 2012.

  1. advan

    advan oOOo Staff Member

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    Yep, I lived in the NW burbs of Baltimore for a while when I was younger and eventually went back to school there in Columbia, MD. Not too far from VA. ;)

    Nice finds Matt! Things are finally starting to warm up here so hopefully the bugs and critters will be out soon. I did just take a trip to a state park with papilio to shoot a waterfall over the weekend but not much wildlife was out yet. Although a hiker tell me he saw a nice sized timber rattler basking on a rock near the falls the week prior. So soon! :D
     
  2. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker Staff Member

    Great new pics, but...still no holy grail :( You know that's what I'm checking for every time you update lol, no PM though so I figured I wouldn't see one in these pics ;)
     
  3. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    If you're ever back in your old stomping grounds we should see what we can turn up. A timber rattler would be amazing, but for that I'll have to head west. Maybe I shouldn't have limited this thread to DC...

    ---------- Post added 05-13-2013 at 05:09 PM ----------

    Thanks Shelley. I know :( Hemlock Overlook is great place to find them too. The obsession must continue.
     
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  4. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    amazing all that diversity! keep the pictures coming!
     
  5. advan

    advan oOOo Staff Member

    Will do! I have family in PA and I do visit normally annually but haven't these last few years. I'll let you know if I make it out that way! :D

    Are you going to reveal the grail or keep it a secret between you two? ;)


    P.S. The first spider looks like Neriene radiata :)
     
  6. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Only if you can answer these three questions:

    1. What is your name?
    2. What is your quest?
    3. What is your favorite color?

    Just kidding. Copperheads are my holy grail. They're abundant around here, but I have yet to find one.

    ---------- Post added 05-14-2013 at 09:38 AM ----------

    Indeed it does. Thank you!

    ---------- Post added 05-14-2013 at 10:23 AM ----------

    Thanks Martin! Already planning the next outing.
     
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  7. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    The cicada horde is here:

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    Periodical Cicada, Magicicada septendecim

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    Filmy Dome Spider, Neriene radiata

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    Narceus americanus

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    Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis sauritus

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    Owl pellet?

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    A well camouflaged cocoon.

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    A shed skin from a very good sized snake.

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    Common Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon

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    Northern Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus
     
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  8. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    another excellent series Shrike! I like the triple ciccada shot, nice composition, not easy to pleasantly frame a multiple insect shot!
     
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  9. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks Martin. The cicadas were everywhere. I had take advantage since it will be another 17 years before we see them again!
     
  10. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker Staff Member

    Awesome new pics :) Love the ringneck, they're adorable!
     
  11. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks Shelley, I agree! They don't smell adorable but they're awesome snakes all the same.
     
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  12. Shrike is the "common water snake" the same species as the "northern water snake"? I need to find my DNR guide book. Btw its an awesome book to bring along.
     
  13. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    They're one and the same. Nerodia sipedon. Since moving to VA I tend to adopt the "common" nomenclature used by the VA Herpetological Society. Like you, I was used to Northern or Northern banded water snake. I'm also used to black rat snake, which they refer to as Eastern rat snake. Goes to show why the Latin names come in handy.

    I'll have to look into that book--I've got a ever growing library of field guides. Maryland DNR?
     
  14. Not MD DNR i screwed that up. Let me go find it and report back. It just looks official.

    EDIT: here it is! I absolutely love this book. Its always in my truck.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0395904528/ref=redir_mdp_mobile
     
  15. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I've got it! It's a classic. I've always got it on me. I also have the Western field guide, even though it barely gets used.
     
  16. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Fantastic weekend in Fairfax County, VA:

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    Orchard Spider, Leucauge venusta

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    A few dragonflies

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    A damselfly

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    This grasshopper jumped on my field hook.

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    Dobsonfly?

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    A nice looking armored millipede, Apheloria virginiensis corrugata

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    This Narceus americanus appeared to be feeding on a dead frog.

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    This well camouflaged deer was keeping an eye on me.

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    A gorgeous swallow

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    A baby Eastern box turtle (the first baby I've ever found), Terrapene carolina. This one had a nick in it's carapace, but seemed to be doing alright.

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    Pickerel Frog, Rana palustris

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    Fowler's Toad, Anaxyrus fowleri

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    Five Lined Skink, Plestiodon fasciatus

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    Eastern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus

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    Common Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon

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    Northern Brown Snake, Storeria dekayi

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    Really sad to see. This rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus, was covered in blue subcutaneous nodules. I hope this isn't the fungal disease I've been hearing about.

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    Black Rat Snake, Pantherophis alleghaniensis
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
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  17. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    Nice thread, I can't believe I overlooked this until today.
     
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  18. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks! Same to you. It's cool to see what's living in other people's neck of the woods.

    ---------- Post added 06-24-2013 at 02:17 PM ----------

    We had some rainy weather this past weekend, immediately followed by 80 degrees and sunny. Lots of animals came out to play.

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    Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina

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    A few inverts. This spider had taken up residence under an old discarded wool hat.

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    American Toad, Anaxyrus americanus

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    Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens. Gorgeous red eft.

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    Eastern Worm Snake, Carphophis amoenus

    Unfortunately, I found another Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus, that seemed to be suffering from a fungal infection. Both were seen at the same site. From the left side, the snake looked beautiful and healthy. From the right...not so much.
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
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  19. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker Staff Member

    Great new pics, Matt! That red newt is amazing! Sad to see that fungal infection on such a gorgeous snake, is it just the rough green snakes that are susceptible to it?

    I find myself holding my breath as I look through your pictures now, just waiting to see if this will be the time you found one. :D
     
  20. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks Shelley :)

    Still chasing my unicorn. Unfortunately, I think this disease is also impacting other species:

    http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/other_diseases/snake_fungal_disease.jsp

    I sent my pictures to USGS and they put me in touch with a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. He sent me the following reply:

    Thank you for sending along your observation and pictures. We cannot diagnose Snake Fungal Disease without having actual samples from the animal, but the signs on that snake do look consistent with the disease. In addition to the lumps on the animal's body, it also looks like the lower jaw may be infected, which is common in many snakes with this disease. The other thing that I find very interesting is the color of the lesions on the body. The typical coloration in this species is the result of a mixture of yellow and blue pigments (there actually are no green pigments in the skin). When green snakes die, they turn blue because the yellow pigment deteriorates much more quickly than the blue pigment. I suspect that the skin in those infected areas is dying which is giving the lesions the blue coloration.

    As far as the other snakes in the area are concerned, I would keep an eye out for additional cases. However, I would not be too alarmed just yet. We are finding that these infections are quite widespread, but may only be having impacts on populations under certain circumstances (we are currently studying this). We are not sure whether most snakes eventually overcome the infections or go on to develop more severe disease. It is good to know that the snake you observed was otherwise acting healthy. I have seen snakes with less severe infections acting lethargic.

    If you encounter freshly dead snakes with signs of the disease (which I realize almost never happens), feel free to contact me and our lab may be able to test the animal. We can also sometimes test biopsies (if their collection is coordinated through the appropriate state agency and conducted by a veterinarian) and even shed skins if they contain signs of infection (the scabs or thickened areas of skin are usually obvious on the shed skins).


    His comments on pigmentation were interesting. That explains why the lesions on green snakes would look markedly different than those pictured on the USGS site. I guess I won't jump to any conclusions just yet. It was just alarming to find two snakes suffering from some form of infection within a short period of time.
     
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