2015 Herp Year in Review - Salamanders

Salamanders are my second favorite group of herps.  They are far above #3, and I couldn't tell you what group holds that spot.  I like everything besides snakes and salamanders equally... probably.  All that said, I didn't get to travel for any salamander lifers this past year.  I'm glad I'm doing this review because it helps me set my goals for the upcoming year and that will definitely include some salamanders I've never had the chance to meet.  I certainly enjoyed all my Northeastern buddies though!

Eastern Red-backed Salamander - Walk into the woods in Spring or Fall and you can flip 1000 of these if you wish.  This particular individual was gorgeous.

Spotted Salamander - I find these guys in Spring migration across multiple states, often by the hundreds.  This particular one was found recently and I got to shoot it with my new macro lens!

Northern Two-lined Salamander - These are ubiquitous steamside salamanders that I take for granted every year.  This year, I want phenomenal photos.  Good news is I can do it during the Winter.

Long-tailed Salamander - These weren't posed and I loved their positioning in the mud as they were flipped, so this choice made the cut.

Jefferson Salamander - The ugly cousin of the mole salamanders in the Northeast, this guy has them all beat by being the first to the vernals in Spring.  In fact, males are often leaving the pools as Spotteds arrive.

Northern Dusky Salamander - Looking back, these were probably the first herps I "targeted" as my Uncle would take me to a creek when I was 5-6 to find black salamanders.

Red Salamander - The kingpin of the stream and seepage salamanders in the Northeast.  These are the salamanders everyone wants to see.   Who could argue?

Blue-spotted Salamander - I find these in Northern NJ where studies have been done and pure forms have been found.  I couldn't tell you if these are pure or not without a DNA test, but they look good enough for me as just a common herp-enthusiast.

Red-spotted Newt - I've seen better looking individuals, but this is my first one encountered with my aforementioned new macro lens.  I apologize for being bias towards the new photographs.

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander - I find these when I head over into central PA.  I have been getting there for about five straight years now and they are always on the priority list.

Marbled Salamander - I find these in multiple habitats in multiple states.  Our Fall breeders, these guys are always an exciting find in September.  I've been fascinated with them since the beginning.  The way they lay their eggs at the edge of vernal pools has been a favorite story of mine to non-herpers.  ...even if those non-herpers are rolling their eyes as soon as I shut up.

Northern Slimy Salamander - Just as their name states, pick one of these up and your hands will have a sticky glue on them that will trap dirt on the surface through a few hand-washes.  

Four-toed Salamander - Our smallest salamander.  It could be their diminutive stature that makes them so appealing, I'm not sure.  They just are!

Eastern Tiger Salamander - Endangered in NJ, DE, MD, and extirpated from PA long ago, these are highly sought after by herpers.  They are Winter breeders, making them a hard find.  That said, they offer some unique earth-tones with arguably the craziest eyes of any Northeast herps... perhaps being rivaled only by Eastern Spadefoots.

Northern Spring Salamander - I find these in the Poconos and deep into the montane regions of PA.  These are a neat find and always surprise me with their impressive size when I flip them.

Eastern Hellbender - This is the largest salamander in North America.  I was lucky enough to get all of my kids to see one this year, including my daughter who was both creeped out and intrigued by them.  These guys are in trouble in the state.  We'll see what the future holds.

2016 - I will get some new salamanders.  I must!  My brain is storming already.  I'm excited.

...step into the outdoors.