Rob Denton

Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Old Man of the Forest

Our department’s graduate students took our fall camping trip over the weekend to southern Ohio, and we were treated to a really special animal: That’s a big timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) hiding out under some fall leaves. This endangered species is both secretive and well camouflaged, so you could easily walk right past one of these bad boys even if you were lucky enough to be near one. This particular snake is part of a long-term study to understand the movements and behavior of these snakes in Ohio. A radio transmitter guided the volunteers who track these snakes directly to this individual, and we […]

A research lab that herps together, works together

Back in August before the semester began, a good portion of the Gibbs lab headed down to Florida for a week of science and reptiles/amphibians. We were visiting some colleagues/collaborators at Florida State University as well as helping Sarah Smiley catch pigmy rattlesnakes for her thesis research.Believe it or not, I’ve just recently downloaded the photos from my camera. Here are some of the interesting things we did and interesting creatures we found: I almost ordered two slices because I didn’t believe that they were “as big as your head”. David and Lisle appreciating the alligators Sarah took us swimming […]

TANK

As if he were making art just for my interests, Nate Milton presents this animated short film, “TANK”. This beauty is well worth nine minutes of your life, especially if you were anything like me growing up: chasing creepy crawly creatures and playing junior naturalist. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that has so accurately tapped into the magical feelings that surround connecting with the natural world as a child, feelings that certainly still resonate with me as an adult.This film was the results of a successful Kickstarter campaign and you can see more behind-the-scenes videos/photos on Mr. Milton’s production […]

Field Herpetology at The Southwest Research Station (Part 3)

I had a fantastic time teaching at the Southwestern Research Station’s Field Herpetology course this year. We returned to Ohio on Wednesday and definitely needed a couple of days to recover from eight straight days of hiking, teaching, and chasing after reptiles/amphibians. I had a few more pictures of animals and class activities, so we needed a part three to finish things up. Last beautiful day at the research station: The students had an awesome time catching Sonora Mud Turtles (Kinosternon sonoriense) with Dr. Justin Congdon, Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia. He’s about the coolest guy you could […]

Field Herpetology at the Southwest Research Station (Part 2)

More photos from the 2013 Field Herpetology course! The first female Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) I have ever seen hold still: Herpetologist photobomb: Round-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma modestum): Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus priceii): Huge male! Think rattlensakes are mean? Look at this individual hiding his head. Bad lighting, but a beautiful snake. My very first Bunchgrass Lizard (Sceloporus slevini). A tough find all the way up the mountains: Here is some of the variation in Long-nosed Snakes (Rhinocheilus lecontei):

Field Herpetology at the Southwest Research Station (Part 1)

We are three days through the 2013 Field Herpetology course at the Southwest Research Station. Whew, what a whirlwind this course is for the second year in a row. We have students from all over the country: college students, retired doctors, government contractors, and environmental consultants. I’ve been busy tweeting some of our activities, but need a place to show you some of the photos of the class at work and the animals we are finding. So here ya go.A handsome Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus): Dr. Carol Simon gives a seminar on the natural history of the Chiricahua Mountains: My […]

Arizona Black Rattlesnakes at Muleshoe Ranch

On our way to the 2013 Field Herpetology course at the Southwest Research Station, Dr. Emily Taylor, Matt Holding, and myself took a side adventure to look for rattlesnakes. Our destination: Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area in southeastern Arizona.Muleshoe is operated by Melissa Amarello and Jeff Smith, who both do some fascinating work tracking rattlesnakes and documenting the secret habits of these cool creatures. Muleshoe is absolutely crawling with rattlesnakes, as evidenced by our first hour of looking around: Two professionals doing there thing: Matt Holding (left) and Jeff Smith (right) Within the first ten minutes, we had already found […]

Herpin’ the Florida Panhandle

A few weeks ago I was in beautiful St. George Island, Florida on vacation with my family. A big part of vacations for me is running around searching for creatures. I was able to spend a good amount of time exploring Apalachicola National Forest and Tate’s Hell State Forest. It was fantastic, and I wanted to share some of the species that I turned up. First off, here is a Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea) that was found while night driving. These beautiful snakes spend most of their time under the leaf litter hunting for eggs of other reptiles.  A lovely […]

Southwest Dreamin’

Greetings all! Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) about to say something important. I haven’t posted on this blog for close to a month due to general busyness and time spent traveling. The purpose of my recent traveling has been to make it out to Portal, AZ to help out with the field herpetology class taught at the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwest Research Station. This has been my first time west of Yellowstone National Park, and oh boy I have had a fantastic time so far. My labmate Matt Holding demonstrating how to safely handle venomous snakes for research purposes. […]