Showing posts from July, 2012

Amphibian staff at the 35th International Herpetological Symposium

Dante and I were able to attend the 35th International Herpetological Symposium in Maryland last week. Dante is a long time contributor, and this was my first time at IHS. We both gave presentations highlighting our conservation efforts at the Garden, and Dante was also the banquet keynote speaker, where he gave a visually captivating presentation highlighting a couple of decades of his work high up in tree canopies — where one needs to go if they would like to encounter frogs that never come to the ground. Tom Crutchfield and Dante after the IHS banquet It was a fantastic meeting, and I know we are both looking forward to the 36th next year in New Orleans!

Attack of the Cave Salamanders!

Cave salamanders emerging from their burrows in the front of the Salamanders of Georgia display Of the six amphibian exhibits in the Conservatory lobby, the Salamanders of Georgia display contains some of the shyest animals we have ever tried to exhibit. In fact, most visitors don't believe there are eleven full-grown salamanders in there! A couple of weeks ago, during the 11 am exhibit feeding, a salamander phenomena occurred, and practically every salamander in the tank emerged and fed! Initially, they seemed to stay at their burrow entrances using their tongues to feed as crickets would pass by, but then that was abandoned for right out biting lunges at the prey (as if to not leave anything to chance). These salamanders are fed at that time several times a week, so why they chose to demonstrate their predatory prowess at that particular time — I have no idea. Fascinating though.  Luckily, a visitor was right there with the camera and was able to get some

Duke TIP Summer Amphibian Biology Course

A Duke TIP biology student holding an Axolotl | Ambystoma mexicanum This past June, I instructed an intensive three week amphibian biology course at The New College of Florida in Sarasota. The class was offered as part of Duke University's Talent Identification Program's summer studies program. Duke TIP is a major leader in identifying academically talented students and providing innovative programs to support the development of their optimal educational potential. Months earlier, we were asked by Duke TIP to design a college level amphibian biology class, and although the class coincided with the busy amphibian reproductive season here at the Garden, we wanted to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to work with Duke TIP and these incredible students. The class sold out immediately and there was a waiting list! With careful planning and lots of help from frog volunteers and staff, we were able to send me down to instruct the course. I arrived at New College five