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!

I must not omit to mention a very singular name by which this animal is known, in some parts of the United-States. By the negroes … the reptile is often called Hell-Bender, by reason of its slow twisted motions, when moving in the waters, which the slaves compare to the tortuous pangs of the damned in hell. Is it beneath the dignity of natural history to notice such vulgar names, when they serve to throw any light upon the habits or economy of an animal? And does not the moralist perceive, that there is something melancholy and distressing in the condition and reflections of those who impose such names?

—Benjamin Smith Barton (1812)

Useless Creatures (and Why They Matter)

I’ve never had grape pie before, but Concord grapes are one of my favorites, so I decided to give it a try. 

Found these hellbender eggs while surveying for adult hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) yesterday. Hellbender nests typically consist of a few hundred eggs, which are deposited under large rocks. Unfortunately, if a nest rock is lifted, it is unlikely the eggs will survive. In order to avoid destroying nests, large rocks are first “probed” and if eggs are detected (i.e. a small clump is pulled out, as pictured) the rock is left in place.

©Zachary A. Cava