The Importance of Descriptive Locale

With today’s technology that can drop a pinpoint within of few meters of an observation (e.g., cell phones, handheld GPS units, and online maps), you may wonder: “Why is a written description of the locality of an observation important?” Written locality descriptions serve as quality control for the PARS team when reviewing the data. Even […]

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Vocal Vouchers

So you hear a Spring Peeper calling from a grassy tussock at the edge of a marsh. You can tell where it is, because the sound is coming right from that tussock. It can’t be that hard to see it; it’s right there in the tussock. So you come in for a closer look. The […]

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Obtaining a Proper Voucher Photo

To verify an amphibian or reptile observation, it is critical to submit a voucher, either in the form of a clear photograph or series of photos; a recording, in the case of calling frogs; or an actual collected specimen. For the vast majority of observations, a voucher photograph will be the most practical. When taking voucher photographs to submit to the PARS website, it is important to remember that these photos will need to be viewed by other people to verify the species identification. The PARS Verification Committee must review each and every record. To make their job easier, and to ensure your hard-earned observations are not rejected, it is important that your photographs are as clear as possible and capture key characteristics for identification. Remember, these vouchers will be used for determining the ranges of species, and will potentially have conservation and regulatory implications. Records may remain unconfirmed because of blurry photos, or if photos do not capture sufficient identifying characteristics of an animal.

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DECON!

PARS volunteers are encouraged to decontaminate their field equipment before and after entering sensitive habitats such as wetlands or areas that may harbor snake dens. There are some nasty pathogens around which can have devastating effects of our herpetofauna. Good decontamination practices will help prevent the spread of these diseases*. All equipment which comes in contact with water or the ground should be treated (boot soles, hip-waders, nets, snake hooks, walking sticks, etc.).

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