Spring breeding events are one of the biggest amphibian gatherings in the world, thousands of amphibians partying all night and bringing in a new generation of herps. ARC supports parties.
© John White
The Francis Marion crew hard at work sampling Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes.
© Mike Gibbons
The amphibians and reptiles found in the Francis Marion National Forest are rock stars in the herp world. In addition to gopher frogs, spotted turtles, pinesnakes, and flatwoods salamanders, the region is also home to the eastern diamondback rattlesnake — North America’s longest and heaviest venomous snake — and the southern hognose snake, famous for dramatically feigning death when feeling threatened. Located in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, this is our longest running field project and contains, or once contained, some of the most iconic and imperiled species and habitats of the southeastern United States.
ARC's Executive director JJ Apodaca never shies away from leaving the office for a Green Salamander survey.
© JJ Apodaca
What do you get when you combine ancient mountains and one of the most biodiverse regions in the world? Along with the “salamander capital of the world,” you get some of the most important PARCAs in the nation. Our Southern Appalachians program focuses on several PARCAs in this region that contain some of the most charismatic and endangered amphibians and reptiles in the country, ranging from the mythic hellbender to the adorable bog turtle and every herp in between.
Surveying the swamps of the Pearl River Basin in search for one of the numerous species that make this area a global herpetological hotspot.
© José Garrido
This jewel of a PARCA is rich in wildlife and herp diversity, with more than 110 species of amphibians and reptiles in this region of western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Yet, over a third of those species are also of high conservation concern; in fact, the Pearl River Basin contains nearly 90 percent of all species of conservation concern for the entire state of Louisiana. This striking juxtaposition between species richness and imperilment underscores the vital need for conservation—and it’s exactly the kind of area where ARC can maximize our impact.
Do PARCAs pique your interest? Use the interactive map to take a closer look at the current PARCAs across the country. We’ve highlighted our top 25 areas of focus right now, where we have on-the-ground initiatives that maximize our conservation impact. And at ARC, we know the work is never done. We are continuing to identify PARCAs in more states to develop new field programs nationwide. By conserving these vitally important regions of the world, we can recover and restore habitats for imperiled reptiles and amphibians, from the Chiricahua leopard frogs to alligator snapping turtles. To learn more about our PARCA database or to apply for data access, please email info@ARCProtects.org.
Click on a highlighted area to learn more.
If a spotted salamander smiling at you isn't reason enough to protect herps... well then this might just not be the place for you.
© Valorie Titus
Earth’s ecosystems are held together by an infinitely complex series of relationships and interactions between plants, animals, and terrain. Within these systems, amphibians and reptiles play a disproportionately important role in maintaining balance. They are vital to the health of our planet and the loss of even one species can have a wide-reaching impact on everything from biodiversity and ecosystems to our health, culture and even economic stability.
For example, in Western North Carolina, salamanders represent the largest single species of biomass in the forest. They serve to contain insect populations and keep a myriad of other creatures in check. They also serve as a food source to larger species. If salamanders were to disappear, the entire food chain could collapse.
Our approach at ARC is to rebuild ecosystem function, one relationship and interaction at a time. By working to ensure that the foundation of our ecosystems are healthy, we are shaping a world where herps can thrive alongside humanity.