endless forms most beautiful

Hi, I'm Zach. My primary focus is herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians), but my interests span many topics relating to the natural and unnatural world.

Most of the material I post here is my own, unless otherwise stated.

For posts I have reblogged from other tumblr users, click "Stuff I Like"

Feel free to send any comments or questions my way!
Me with a humongous fungus

Me with a humongous fungus

Why conservationists need a little hope: saving themselves from becoming the most depressing scientists on the planet

Female Turtles "Talk" to Their Hatchlings, Scientists Discover

A few years ago I was caring for some head-started Blanding’s turtles while interning at USFWS and on a few occasions I could’ve sworn I heard them make some strange “clicking” sounds. Maybe I wasn’t crazy after all!

On May 21, 1927 I took three adult Hellbenders … One specimen was shot three times with a .32 cal. revolver, and only temporarily stunned for it was quite active until it was killed twenty-four hours later.

—M. Graham Netting, “The Food of the Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis (Daudin).” Copeia, 1929.

I enjoyed reading this passage by Thích Nhất Hạnh, in which he eloquently expresses a phenomenon we can all relate to:

"I have a photograph of myself when I was a boy of sixteen. Is it a photograph of me? I am not really sure. Who is this boy in the photograph? Is it the same person as me or is it another person? … 

The body of the boy in the photograph is not the same as my body, now that I am in my seventies. The feelings are different, and the perceptions are very different. It is just as if I am a completely different person from that boy, but if the boy in the photograph did not exist, then I would not exist either. 

I am a continuation like the rain is the continuation of the cloud. When you look deeply into the photograph, you can see me already as an old man. You do not have to wait fifty-five years. When the lemon tree is in flower, you may not see any fruit, but if you look deeply you can see that the fruit is already there… [I]f the lemon tree has time it will express itself in lemons.” 

Thích Nhất HạnhNo Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life (2003)

Wood Frog on wood (in situ)©Zachary A. Cava

Wood Frog on wood (in situ)

©Zachary A. Cava

One of the strangest things I’ve found. Large chunk of eroded rock with what appears to be writing, but the letters are RAISED rather than etched in the stone. At Devil’s Hole State Park, NY.

One of the strangest things I’ve found. Large chunk of eroded rock with what appears to be writing, but the letters are RAISED rather than etched in the stone. At Devil’s Hole State Park, NY.

A young, contemplative Walter White?

A young, contemplative Walter White?