Amphibians on the Move!

April 16, 2014

A warm front with several inches of rain pushed through Missouri about a 10 days ago and my co-worker, Matt Ormsby, a Naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, knew it would be his best opportunity to conduct annual monitoring of the amphibians of the St. Louis Region. After Matt’s sampling was completed, I asked him if I could photograph a few of the animals for our magazine, Missouri Conservationist, as well as other publications and brochures within the agency. Also, it would be a great opportunity to get some voucher shots of the different species. I’ve decided to share some of the images here as an alternative to the more feathered and furry creatures I usually highlight.

The featured critter is a wood frog, unique in its ability to withstand extreme cold by producing antifreeze-like glucose in its bloodstream. The wood frog is a species of conservation concern in Missouri, and I enjoyed watching so many teen-age faces light up as Matt showed this specimen to Envirothon students at our learning center last week.

Next are the the ringed salamander and spotted salamander. It is easy to see where each of their names came from but the third salamander, called the small-mouthed, is not quite as obvious.

DJB_BCA_2014_0557Ringed Salamander

DJB_BCA_2014_0559Spotted Salamander

DJB_BCA_2014_0562Small-mouthed Salamander

The final image is of a striking pickerel frog. The pickerel frog is not only a visual stand-out in the amphibian world, but a stunning example of Missouri’s beautiful creatures in general.


I hope you have enjoyed this brief glimpse into Matt’s world, where he monitors such critters and promotes awareness of their habitat and survival needs, especially to children. After working with Missouri Department of Conservation naturalists for over 25 years, I’m more impressed than ever by their dedication to Missouri’s natural wonders.

I plan to spend some time this weekend at our own fishless pond here on the farm. Lately, the frog songs have been ribbiting! :)

Thanks for looking,


Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

Announcement:  We have rescheduled the reception for my photo exhibit, “The Creatures of Shaw Nature Reserve” for Sunday, April 27, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Shaw Nature Reserve’s Bascom House. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you and answering any questions you might have about my wildlife images. The reception is open to the public and we’ll have light refreshments, as well. Hope to see you there!


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