All Creatures Great and Small


About 18 years ago or so, I was collecting insects in the Gila Wilderness in southwest NM. I came across several salamanders and I knew right away that they were an undescribed species. I have a background in herpetology before I went into entomology. I captured four adults and brought them home with me. I asked the herp fellow at UNM how to proceed. He said they would examine them, preserve them and then go down and try to find more, to see how far they ranged. I thought about that for awhile and then decided there was no reason to do all of that. I brought the salamanders (five hour drive) back to where I found them and released them. I have been back twice in the last 18 years and they are still there and they seem very pleased that nobody knows they exist. At least nobody has trampled all over their habitat looking for them. The herpetologist was very upset as he thought he would get to publish a paper describing a new species of salamander. It didn’t happen. Personally I think the salamanders were better off remaining anonymous. We collect new species, kill and preserve them and then go looking for more of them to see how far they range and, of course, we kill and preserve all that we find. That isn’t the kind of science I want any more part of.

The question is, is it necessary to go out and kill a lot of insects and other animals looking for new species if they have absolutely no impact on humans, economically or any other way? I did a lot of arthropod identifications over the years for government agencies such as Bandelier Nat. Park, Jornada and others. I was well paid with taxpayer money to ID these arthropods. We frequently found rodents, shrews, lizards and salamanders in the pitfall traps. Was it necessary to kill all of these animals just to determine what kind of arthropods are living in a mountain, desert or riparian habitat? Should these kind of studies that have absolutely no economical meaning be funded by taxpayer dollars? At the time I thought it was okay, but now I am not so sure. Maybe all of these arthropods and other animals that will never react with humans would be much better off if we left them alone and we can put the money toward things that have a positive interest in society, such has health care. This goes for other groups of animals as well. We don’t really need to know what kind of animals live at the bottom of the ocean, do we?


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


One thought on “Salamanders

  1. I read this with a lot of interest because sometimes I have that creepy, crawly, itch all over even like in my veins. For me it’s allergies. I’ve been eating too much too many foods that are acidity. Like Oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit, but it also includes things like strawberries, eggs, milk products, and that sort of thing. Very simply this woman may have allergies and needs to adjust her eating habits. I could scream when I get this going on. Scream, cry, pull my hair out sort of feelings. Please tell her to see an allergy Dr. and be tested for allergies. I haven’t been to one simply because I know about my allergies from experience. I know what to do. Cut those foods out of my diet until I clear up. Then, I can eat one or two of that group but not overendulge in any of them. I hope this might help.

    Posted by Sandy Rogers | August 30, 2019, 3:11 pm

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