Kevin Hamed is a regular participant and field trip leader at the Mt. Rogers Naturalist Rally, and presented a great Friday evening program this past May, highlighting both the wonderful diversity and the real threats to the continued existence of the southern Appalachian’s mountain salamanders. Read more in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Related articles by Zemanta Why freeze salamander sperm? (holykaw.alltop.com) Salamander is world’s first photosynthetic vertebrate (mnn.com)

It’s almost a cruelty to parade these dazzling living specimens of amphibians before us–a group that holds maybe a third place in color and form behind beetles and birds–because unless things change significantly in the climate change trends, habitat loss and other factors known and unknown that work today against this animal CLASS, they won’t be around to admire except in stunning pictures like these. So go ahead. Browse through the 20 contestants and choose your favorite. Mine’s #16 here. Imagine walking past a …

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