SREL Reprint #0716




Terrestrial Activity and Summer Home Range of the Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum)

Raymond D. Semlitsch



The terrestrial activity and summer home range of Ambystoma talpoideum is described in two populations in South Carolina.  Emigration of adults from breeding sites occurred from March through May during 1979 and 1980.  Adults spent 237-354 days in terrestrial habitats before returning to breeding sites during autumn and early winter.  Females spent significantly more time in terrestrial habitats than males.  Movement of A. talpoideum into and out of the breeding sites around the perimeter of the Carolina bays was nonrandom.  Salamanders used corridors of dense vegetation more frequently than open, grassy shoreline areas.  Emigration of individual adults to summer home ranges occurred within several nights and summer home ranges were established 81-261 m from the edge of the bays.  Juveniles emigrated significantly shorter distances (12-67 m) than adults.  Summer home ranges comprised several focal points of activity or “activity centers.”  The area of each activity center was relatively constant among individuals (0.02-0.21 m2) when compared with the area of a “minimum polygon” home range (0.11-23.3m2).  Ambystoma talpoideum inhabited burrow systems within each activity center.  Burrows ran parallel to the surface of the forest floor and averaged 1.7 cm in diameter and 4.7 cm below the surface.


SREL Reprint #0716

Semlitsch, R.D. 1981. Terrestrial activity and summer home range of the mole salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum). Canadian Journal of Zoology 59:315-322.

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