Due to a low pressure system lingering above our wonderful state, we have been graced once again with bloom of interesting mushrooms! Keep your eyes to the ground as you go on your morning jog, or just a simple afternoon stroll. Just this morning I stumbled across an interesting specimen. "Wow! An exploding nipple mushroom," was the first thing that popped into my mind. Consequently, the name is actually earthstar mushroom. I'm not quite certain of its specific epithet, so I will reveal only the genus: Geastrum. For more information, just click here!

Over the past several days, my comrades and I have been removing Euonymus fortunei-common name is wintercreeper-which is an invasive plant species. It may look harmless, but it will easily choke out native plants and limit the biodiversity of an area very quickly. The garden staff and I devised a way of removing the plant by starting at the top of a slope and rolling it over itself similar to rolling carpet. As we were rolling the wintercreeper, many creatures would come out to greet us: worms, various insects, spiders, and a lovely little salamander.

Mr. Salamander was upset because the worms were eating all his food. I told Mr. Salamander that we would relocate the worms to another place if he would have a wrestling match with one of the worms. He agreed.

Eurycea lucifuga, which is the scientific name for Mr. Salamander, is a rare find in the wild. The common name for this species is the cave salamander. Its habitat is usually in caves where light can be found and near springs. In Arkansas, the animal is limited to the Ozarks in the northern part of the state; however, the cave salamander can be found in many central and eastern states. Even though this salamander is rare, it is not on the federal endangered species list.

Eurycea lucifuga