Michael Benard

I am a herpetologist who conducts research on amphibians and invertebrates. I also enjoy taking natural history photographs and video.
United States
United States

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483 stock photos, vectors, and illustrations are available royalty-free.

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A male Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea) sits on a branch making its characteristic honking call.  Its vocal sac is inflated with air to help it call more frequently. Seen in South Carolina.
Brood V periodical cicada (Magicicada septendecim) seen in northeast Ohio in June 2016.
Tadpole of an American Bullfrog ((scientific name Rana catesbeiana or Lithobates catesbeianus, depending on the taxonomic authority) on a white background.
A desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus ) with a long tail with a fuzzy tip.
Side view of a green frog (Rana clamitans or Lithobates clamitans) floating in the water among cattails.  It has a yellowish-cast to its color. The large tympanum indicates it is a male.
A pile of dead adulb Brood V cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) and shed exoskeletons at the base of a tree.
Underwater photograph of an adult male Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens).
Ventral view showing the underside of the head, lower jaw and belly of a Pacific Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis).
A tiny Brahminy Blindsnake (Indotyphlops braminus) coiled around a penny. This tiny species is native to South Asia, but has been introduced around the world. This one was found in Kauai, Hawaii.
A full body photo of a male Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) swimming in the water.  The enlarged hind legs and wide keeled tail are characteristics of reproductive males.
A california newt (Taricha torosa) clings to a branch underwater in a small stream. Napa County, California.
A tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) that has been host to the larvae of a parasitoid wasp.  The white bumps on the caterpillar are cocoons from many wasp larvae that grew inside the caterpillar.
Calling male Green Frog (Rana clamitans also known as Lithobates clamitans) with vocal sac inflated. Taken at night in pond.
A western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata) hiding in grass on the edge of a pond in northern California.
A wood frog sitting on a yellow and orange leaf on the forest floor in the autumn.
A male Spring Peeper calls while his vocal sac is inflated.  The vocal sac helps the male quickly refill his lungs so that he can call more rapidly.
Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica; also known as Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpole resting on old leaf litter.
Young Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) on green moss background.
Larva of a unisexual Ambystoma salamander.  The aquatic stage has feathery external gills on the sides of its head.
A male Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys) minnow found in a stream in the Genesee River Watershed, NY. This is right where the Blacknose Dace and Eastern Blacknose Dace come together.
Fresh wood frog (Rana sylvatica; also known as Lithobates sylvaticus) eggs.
Black nuptial pads on the hind legs and feet of this adult male Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) help it cling to the female newt during mating.
An Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus	ventralis) in Florida.  These legless animals look like snakes, but they are actually lizards.
Side view of a male American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) calling to attract a mate.  His vocal sac is inflated, and his call sounds like a prolonged trill.
Close-up view of a California Slender Salamander's face.  This salamander has a long body, tiny limbs, and huge eyes. Its face looks a bit like an alien!
Regenerating tail in a Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus). A large part of the tail was lost in the past.  A new tail, visible as the pale bud, is growing to replace the lost tail.
The white fluffy objects on the stem and branch of this young Beech Tree are a colony of Beech Blight Aphids (Grylloprociphilus imbricator). The white fluffy secretions are used as a defense.
Dorsal view of a Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) with a regenerating tail.  On white background.
A male wood frog clings to the back of a female (amplexus) in a woodland pond.
Side view of an Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) larva.   The feathery structures on the side of its head are gills.
A California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra) held gently in a person's hand, with a blue sky as a background.
The front limb of an adult female Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) that has developed a deformity.  These types of limb deformity are often caused by parasitic trematode infection.
Brood V periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) seen in northeast Ohio in June 2016.
Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) shown in its natural habitat with a wetland in the background.
A pair of mating California Newts (Taricha torosa).  The male is clinging to the female's back in a behavior known as amplexus.  A clutch of newt eggs can be seen on a green plant stem near the adults
Close-up portrait of a female wood frog (Rana sylvatica; also known as Lithobates sylvaticus) in a lateral view on a white background.
Three tiny eggs from the Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) frog laid on a small plant stem in a pond.
Two Green June Beetles (Cotinis nitida) on a white background.  One beetle is mostly green with yellow stripes, the other is mostly orange.  Both are metallic.
A red junglefowl rooster on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The Reddish-Brown Stage Beetle (Lucanus capreolus) is found in eastern North America.  Males, like the one pictured here, have large mandibles that they use in battles with other males.
A Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii) that is half-buried in the reddish desert sand.
Raccoon scat recognizable by its shape.  Two slugs, a snail and a pillbug are all crawling or feeding on the dung.
Top-down view of a spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) tadpole.  The tadpole is starting to grow long hindlegs and will metamorphose soon.
Two male spring peepers competing for the attention of females by singing.  Their vocal sacs are inflated with air, which helps them sing faster.
Close-up view of the toes, hind-limbs, cloaca and tail of a mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)
The aquatic larval stage of a tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). These salamander larvae reach large sizes before metamorphosis.  They have feathery external gills. They are voracious predators.
Citrus Flatid Planthopper (Metcalfa pruinosa) sitting on a milkweed leaf in a yard native plant garden.
Metamorphosing wood frog on a white background.  It still has its tail, but that will soon be absorbed as it completes metamorphosis.
Portrait of a western toad (Anaxyrus boreas) sitting on a mossy rock with trees and sky in the background.
Looking down on a large adult diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) seen in east Texas.
A small juvenile wood frog (Rana sylvatica, also known as Lithobates sylvaticus) sitting on moss in the forest.  This young frog metamorphosed only a few weeks before.
Ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus) sitting on leaves on the ground.
Side view of an Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris).
Brood V periodical cicada (Magicicada septendecim) seen in northeast Ohio in June 2016.
Looking down on the back of a calling spring peeper.  This shows the characteristic "X" patterns that gives them their scientific name "crucifer".
This Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) has lost most of its tail, but part of it is regenerating in a tiny stub.
Close-up of a racoon scat with a slug feeding on one side and a snail feeding on the other side.
American Bullfrog embryos still in their egg jelly before hatching.
A grumpy American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus ) looks at the camera while frowning from a white background.
A desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus ) with a long tail with a fuzzy tip.
A California Slender Salamander blends in with dead leaves on the forest floor.
Ventral view of a recently hatched wood frog tadpole (Rana sylvatica).  The external gills are still visible.  These will soon be covered by the tadpole's operculum.
Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog near a stream.
A larval predaceous diving beetle (Family Dytisicdae; Genus Dytiscus) eats a pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla) tadpole.
Ventral view of an oriental fire-bellied toad tadpole (Bombina orientalis). This species is from Asia. You can see some of the tadpole's organs through the translucent skin of its belly.
A Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) sitting on a mossy log.
Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris) seen on Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. These amphibians are an invasive species in Hawaii, and are native to some of the Caribbean islands.
A Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor minor) shows off its impressive beak and large head.
Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) looking at the camera with a white background.
A dark fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) hangs on to a tree trunk at night.
A dead Brood V Cicada (Magicicada septendecim)  laying on its side in a stream.
Pupae stage of the predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus). The larvae are aquatic, but must crawl onto land to pupate in a small hole that they dig in the soil. Adults return to the water.
Lateral (side) view of a large Green Frog (Rana clamitans; also known as Lithobates clamitans) tadpole on a white background.
Close-up view of a yellow-eyed ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica).  Resting on brown leaf litter and twigs.  Santa Cruz County, California.
A small redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) rests among dead brown leaves on the forest floor. These salamanders are very common in forests of eastern North America.
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) sitting on a green leaf.
Close-up of head of a sharp tailed snake (Contia tenuis)
Dorsal view of a pickerel frog tadpole on a white background.
Coiling tail showing off red color on the underside. Pacific Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis)
Close up profile view of the side of the head of a Pacific Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis).
A small, bold recently metamorphosed wood frog (Rana sylvatica or Lithobates sylvaticus) comes out from under a leaf it was using as a refuge.
Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) resting on shelf fungus on old log.
Defensive display of the Pacific Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis), which coils its tail and shows off bright red and orange color when threatened.
Top of the head of a Pacific Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis), also showing bring orange and red color on tail and belly.
A plump American Toad sitting on a white background.
Southern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) from Mendocino County, California.
A female California Newt (Taricha torosa) laying eggs on an aquatic plant in a pond. Napa County, California.
A male Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) shows off his bright red dewlap to warn other lizards to stay out of his territory.  Seen on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
A bright red female wood frog (Rana sylvatica; also known as Lithobates sylvaticus) on a white background.  Red color in wood frogs is most common in females.
A long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia  wislizenii) rests on a red rock in the New Mexico desert.
A calling male Gray Treefrog perches on a tree trunk while singing it song. The trill he makes will attract female frogs.
Bright green anole lizard (Anolis	carolinensis) sitting on a fence post in Louisiana.
A small cricket frog (Acris crepitans) clinging to a little floating aquatic plants.
Looking down on an adult smallmouth salamander (Ambystoma texanum) on a white background.
Male Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) flashes its red dewlap while clinging to a green post in a garden.
An in-situe photograph of a Blackbelly Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) sitting among rocks in a flowing stream.  Its brown color helps it blend in with the background rocks and moss.
Adult smallmouth salamander (Ambystoma texanum), whole-body portrait on a white background.
Two larvae of the southern two-lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) photographed in their natural habitat at the bottom of a small creek.
Six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) hunting at night. Its back legs rest on a fallen log, its front legs rest on the water surface.
Close-up view of the eyes of a Banana Slug (Ariolimax californicus) seen in Santa Cruz County, California.
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