Fifth Annual Long Island Natural History Conference






















Herpetofauna of the Northeast Coastal Region

Alvin Breisch, Roosevelt Wild Life Station, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse

The northeast coastal region extends from the rocky shores of Maine to the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, Long Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia.  Coastal habitats include beaches, sand dunes, maritime forests, salt and freshwater wetlands, freshwater streams and ponds, and large areas of low lying uplands that often extend many miles inland. Coastal habitats support 106 of the 155 species of amphibians and reptiles native to the 11 coastal states of the northeast.  At least 43 of these species are, or were previously, found on Long Island. My talk will focus on distribution, conservation efforts, and threats to a few of the species that are regionally significant or that are adapted to the well-drained sandy soils that are prevalent in the major coastal areas of the northeast.  Two of these, the Eastern Tiger Salamander and the Eastern Mud Turtle, are listed as endangered in New York.  The Eastern Cricket Frog is also listed as endangered and the Timber rattlesnake is listed as threatened, but both have been extirpated from Long Island. 

Alvin Breisch is a collaborator with the Roosevelt Wild Life Station at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Previously he was the Amphibian and Reptile Specialist for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation before retiring in 2009 after 29 years.  He has served as co-chair of both the national steering committee for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) and Northeast PARC.  He is the director of the New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project and is coauthor of The Amphibians and Reptiles of New York State: Identification, Life History and Conservation and Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Northeastern United States.  His latest book: The Snake and the Salamander: Amphibians and Reptiles from Maine to Virginia was released by Johns Hopkins University Press in January.