When: 2014-04-15

Collection location: Jasper Co., Missouri, USA [Click for map]

Who: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)

No specimen available


Proposed Names

76% (2)
Recognized by sight

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About 20 miles from where I live…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-19 06:08:36 MDT (-0600)

there’s a small town in the hills, Noxen, which holds an annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Rattlesnakes captured by participants are displayed for a day or two, and then released back into the wild.

Timber Rattlesnake is the type that lives here in eastern NA.

Probably a timber rattler. They can get big.
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-18 11:54:32 MDT (-0600)
There’s a stretch of the Loyalsock Trail in PA…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-18 11:15:14 MDT (-0600)

that runs along the top of a high cliff. There’s thick underbrush on the other side of the trail. My wife and I encountered a large rattler spread out across the trail. After 20 minutes of trying to scare it away with noise, small sticks and such, it was still there shaking its rattle. We had to bushwhack around it. Must have been a female guarding a nest of babies.

instinct …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-04-18 09:40:32 MDT (-0600)

can help us avoid danger.

I am a snake fan, but even I jumped back when confronted with a huge pink rattler (endemic species) in the Grand Canyon on a two week backpack trip, back in my twenties. It was cold and coiled near our latrine spot, and I was the first to walk that trail in the morning. Beautiful animal, too cold to be threatening. In fact, it felt threatened by US; it slowly uncoiled and ponderously slithered away, once the rest of my group gathered around it to ooooh and aaaaaah.

Our Mingo-Not copperhead was in the middle of a downed wood tangle, and half our group walked right by it before someone noticed it lying there. Thank god there were no cool mushrooms in its immediate area, reached for by an unknowing hand. Its markings were a perfect match for the hardwood leaf litter.

I had only ever seen a copperhead in captivity; they don’t occur in the west. It’s a whole nuther ballgame when they are sharing the woods with ya.

Oh no! The foray got sequestered.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-17 21:36:12 MDT (-0600)

(See previous discussion.)

Copperheads are beautiful, except for when you wake up a sleeping copperhead on the trail. Then, copperheads are scary. I’ll never forget the aura of spontaneous fear that took hold one sunny morning when my dad and I pulled up a couple feet short of one. Looked like a stick to me, until it started moving. Copperheads seem to be less common than they used to be around here. I haven’t seen one for many years.

University Forest is fantastic
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-17 17:20:16 MDT (-0600)

and a copperhead is one of the most beautiful snakes I have ever seen, especially when young or freshly shed.

Hey Jon…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-04-17 15:37:24 MDT (-0600)

yes I did, very much. BUT, the stupid federal gov’t. shutdown didn’t allow us to actually go into Mingo (NWR); luckily, there was plenty of good habitat right outside, but still. We were calling it the Mingo-Not Foray!

I did see my very first wild copperhead there in swampland … beautiful animal, well camouflaged in leaf litter.

Guess that I’ll have to return someday for that full Mingo experience. ;)

Thank you Debbie!
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-17 09:22:05 MDT (-0600)

Did you enjoy the Mingo foray? I am sorry to have missed it and your lecture this year

your latin name looks good.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-04-17 09:06:00 MDT (-0600)

Beug states that angusticeps is generally the first true morel in the elata clade to appear in the spring in Eastern NA (“Ascomycete Fungi of North America”).

Cook them well; this species has been associated with quite a few serious GI poisonings recently, especially when consumed with alcohol.

Yes! That is it.
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-17 06:40:02 MDT (-0600)

Thank you Dave! I had completely forgotten what those little guys were called. Fascinating animals. Jon

I believe you refer to…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-16 23:19:30 MDT (-0600)

the Eastern Newt. The adult version is green and lives in a pond or stream. But the juvenile version is a brightly colored orange/red, and is often seen on the forest floor after a rainfall. In this stage it is called the Red Eft. I see them throughout the summer and into the fall.

Oh yeah.
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-16 22:21:03 MDT (-0600)

I see where you are now. I used to live in Seneca Falls area, near the lake. Also, did some work near Binghamton. What are those little salamanders you find in the woods during the fall called? We don’t have them around here and I’ve forgotten. Colorful little guys.

On average….
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-16 21:42:41 MDT (-0600)

the first ones appear in my early spot, a south-facing slightly elevated ridge bottom, around mid April. But with this current cold weather I’ll be lucky to get any blacks at all in this spot this year.

I think mid April is about right for around here Dave.
By: Jon Shaffer (watchcat)
2014-04-16 07:58:26 MDT (-0600)

We found these starting last week in one of our “spots” where they fruit each year, for the most part.

My understanding of the black morels…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-04-16 06:25:27 MDT (-0600)

east of the Rockies, is that the only currently-documented possibilities other than angusticeps are wood-chip species and a woodland species restricted to latitudes well north of Missouri. This looks like the typical classic woodland black I find here in PA… well, not this year, at least not yet.

Jon, I’m guessing that 4/14 is late for the blacks to be getting started in Missouri.

Created: 2014-04-15 19:30:11 MDT (-0600)
Last modified: 2020-04-25 10:41:40 MDT (-0600)
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