The Lizard Log

The Langkilde Lab in Action

Perks to Clouds

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We’re well into our first field trip for the summer, and we have certainly kept busy! Chris, Sean, and I (Gail) began our lizard quest on May 6th. For the first week or so, we stopped at a number of our field sites in Tennessee and Arkansas (our fire ant “uninvaded” sites)  to collect lizards.  We also wanted some higher latitude sites with fire ants, so we checked out some new sites in Tennessee and Mississippi.

The thing about new sites is, it’s often unclear where the lizards actually are. While much of the site may have great lizard habitat (so it seems to us), the only way to know for sure is to look! This means that collecting lizards at new sites often takes longer than usual.  Our new Mississippi site surprised us, though. The boys caught all our lizards in about two hours! Awesome!  Our new Tennessee site, however, wasn’t so fruitful. We did find some lizards, but not as many as we would have liked. The weather also wasn’t cooperating. Lizards love basking in the sun, but when there’s no sun….

Mist rising from the falls

Mist rising from the falls at Fall Creek Falls State Park

We drove out to Fall Creek Falls State Park (in TN) one morning to look for lizards, but the clouds came out in force on our way over. It was a bit wet and the sun was elusive, which is quite frustrating when lizard catching! Still, there was one perk to the clouds–we had time to investigate the falls! Fall Creek Falls has the highest waterfall in the Eastern US, with a 256-foot drop.

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls

The park also has two smaller (but no less beautiful!) falls, Piney and Cane Creek Falls.

IMG_6874 littler falls

So much water!

IMG_6887 suspension bridge

Just cross this wobbly suspension bridge for a better view of the falls!

Even after we had properly taken in the falls, the sun was still elusive. What do you with your “free” time while on a Langkilde Lab trip? Herping of course! At least some herps were seen that day!

Zigzag salamander

Zigzag salamander

IMG_6901 other sal

Two-lined Salamander

More about our actual research coming soon!


Author: Gail McCormick

Science writer at Penn State University; papercrafter, ecologist, theatre-lover.

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