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Oh, There You Are

To track elusive species, conservation biologists are searching for their DNA in the environment, NPR's All Things Considered reports.

Stephen Spear from the nonprofit Orianne Society, a group that focuses on protecting reptiles and amphibians, has been sampling water to see if it contains DNA from the hellbender salamander. The hellbender salamander, which is also known as the snot otter, is difficult to find as it is aquatic and spends much of its time underneath rocks. But as NPR says, Spear has found that the creature sheds a lot of DNA while it is breeding so he may be able to gauge where the salamanders are successful.

Other researchers, NPR adds, are using similar techniques to study sardines, porpoises, and Asian carp.