SREL Reprint #2497

 

 

 

Age of adult eastern tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) in a Virginia sinkhole pond complex: implications for conservation

Kurt A. Buhlmann1 and Joseph C. Mitchell2

1University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802
2Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173

Abstract: Skeletochronological age estimates of eastern tiger salamanders, Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia suggest that adults returning to breeding ponds range from one to six years old. Age and body size of adults were positively correlated. Several breeding ponds dried in some years before salamander larvae reached metamorphosis. Reproductive success, measured as the percent of ponds that produced metamorphs each year, was 50-75% over a five year period. Age structure of the adult population indicated that successive years of drought could jeopardize the survival of this disjunct population. Management actions should include maintaining the natural hydroperiod of all ponds and providing for appropriate terrestrial habitat connections between ponds.

Keywords: Ambystoma tigrinum; conservation; landscape ecology; skeletochronology; Tiger salamander; Virginia; wetland hydroperiod.

SREL Reprint #2497

Buhlmann, K. A., and J. C. Mitchell. 2000. Age of adult eastern tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) in a Virginia sinkhole pond complex: implications for conservation. The Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 116:239-244.

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