SREL Reprint #0946




Diel Pattern of Migratory Activity for Several Species of Pond-breeding Salamanders

Raymond D. Semlitsch and Joseph H. K. Pechmann



The diel pattern of migratory activity for five species of salamanders (Eurycea quadridigitata, Notophthalmus viridescens, Ambystoma tallpoideum, A. tigrinum and A. opacum) was monitored by terrestrial drift fences with pitfall traps surrounding two breeding sites.  Individuals captured (N=1,124) in pitfall traps were censused at 6-hour intervals during nine 24-hour periods from 1981 to 1983.  Census days were selected non-randomly in order to equalize the amount of rainfall and mean air temperature between day and night periods.  This design allowed the separation of environmental effects other than photoperiod from species differences in diel activity.

There were significant species differences in the number of individuals censused among time intervals and between day and night.  N. viridescens and E. quadridigitata were equally active night and day.  A. talpoideum and A. tigrinum were significantly more active at night.  There were no significant differences in either mean air temperature or amount of rainfall among time intervals or between day and night periods.

The results indicated distinct differences among species in the diel pattern of migratory activity that were not explicable by variation in air temperature and amount of rainfall.  Species patterns probably reflect adjustments produced by natural selection to avoid predation and desiccation.


SREL Reprint #0946

Semlitsch, R.D. and J.H.K. Pechmann. 1985. Diel pattern of migratory activity for several species of pond-breeding salamanders. Copeia 1985:89-91.

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