Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Waterdog

Black Warrior Waterdog – Field Notes from Mississippi

For the past few years, staff at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden have been conducting population surveys of the endangered Black Warrior Waterdog (Necturus alabamensis). They are also involved in a phylogenetic study that involves collecting tissue samples from waterdogs in all major US drainages (from North Carolina west to Texas, and south to northern Florida).

In November 2011, myself and some colleagues planned a trip to three drainages in central Alabama. Due to rain, we switched our plans and decided to travel to Mississippi and southern Alabama. If it rains 2-3 days prior to a trip, water levels of the rivers and creeks rise, making conditions difficult for finding waterdogs. It takes at least two days for the water level to drop back to normal.

Day 1:
We left the Zoo at 6:30 a.m. and headed south to Mississippi. We arrived at 4 p.m. Since it was still light outside, we decided to survey the first drainage on our list, the Big Black River Drainage. We drove to at least four different creeks in west central Mississippi. As we were gearing up in our waders and heading down to a creek, dip-nets in hand, a local stopped on the road and asked us what we were doing. We told him we were conducting salamander surveys and he was fascinated. He also made sure to let us know that “Mr. No Shoulders” was around and to be careful. [Read more →]

January 6, 2012   No Comments