Seasonal Use and Selection of Caves by Plethodontid Salamanders in a Karst Area of Arkansas

By Briggler, Jeffrey T.; Prather, John W. | The American Midland Naturalist, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Seasonal Use and Selection of Caves by Plethodontid Salamanders in a Karst Area of Arkansas


Briggler, Jeffrey T., Prather, John W., The American Midland Naturalist


ABSTRACT.-

From December 1998 through May 2000, seasonal use and selection of caves by salamanders were documented in 93 small caves in Crawford County, Arkansas. Caves were surveyed seasonally between winter 1998-1999 and spring 2000, and the numbers and species of all salamanders present were documented. Cave ambient temperature and relative humidity were recorded. Also, each cave entrance was georeferenced using GPS (Global Positioning System) and landscape-level variables around each entrance were quantified using ArcView GIS (Geographic Information System) data layers. Using salamander and ArcView data, relations between salamander occurrence based upon landscape-level variables (dominant overstory vegetation, geology, slope, aspect, solar radiation and distance to perennial stream) and cave characteristics (ambient temperature, relative humidity, cave length and entrance size) were examined. Six species of salamanders were found during the survey. Eurycea lucifuga (cave salamander), Plethodon albagula (western slimy salamander) and P. angusticlavius (Ozark salamander) were commonly observed. Eurycea lucifuga salamanders were active in caves during spring, summer and autumn. Plethodon albagula were most frequently encountered during the summer and P. angusticlavius were most frequently encountered during spring surveys. Few salamanders of any species were detected during winter surveys. The use of caves by the various species of salamanders was influenced by the landscape-level variables and cave characteristics. However, cave ambient temperature and relative humidity appear to have the most influences of salamander use of caves. Both E. lucifuga and P. albagula were significantly more likely to be found in caves with cooler temperatures in summer and higher relative humidities in autumn. In addition to these factors, the probability of finding E. lucifuga significantly decreased with increasing distance to permanent streams, whereas P. albagula was significantly more likely to be found in caves with south and west facing aspects, especially during summer and autumn surveys. There were no significant patterns for P. angusticlavius use of caves. Seasonal and spatial patterns of cave use by salamanders were primarily influenced by environmental (temperature and relative humidity) factors and the ecological requirements of the salamanders.

INTRODUCTION

The eastern United States supports one of the richest diversity of plethodontid salamanders in the world (Duellman, 1999). Topographic relief, ample rainfall, abundant drainages, plentiful forest cover and karst geology of these regions has provided ideal habitats for a great diversity of salamander species (Mittleman, 1950; Bowling, 1956; Duellman, 1999; Culver et al., 2000). The presence of caves in karst regions like the Appalachian Highlands, Ozarks Highlands and Interior Lowlands is important to numerous species of salamanders, especially plethodontids (family Plethodontidae). Not only are the majority of troglobitic salamanders entirely dependent on caves to complete their life cycle (Brandon, 1971a; Culver et al., 2000), but also numerous species of salamanders, in particular plethodontids, use caves on a temporary basis for breeding, foraging or shelter from drought and cold (Mitdeman, 1950; Rudolph, 1978; Carlyle et al, 1998; Petranka, 1998; Johnson, 2000; Briggler and Puckette, 2003; Graening et al., 2003).

While considerable research has focused on cave-associated salamanders (e.g., Mitdeman, 1950; Barr, 1968; Peck and Richardson, 1976; Petranka, 1998; Culver et al., 2000) with an emphasis on species lists and basic life-history information, most of this information is based on surveys of a relatively small number of caves and is often based on only a few visits per year (Mitdeman, 1950; Mohr, 1950; Barnett, 1970; Black, 1973; McDaniel and Gardner, 1977; Williams, 1980; Buhlmann, 2001; Dodd et al., 2001; Elliott and Ireland, 2001). Thus, litde information exists on seasonal use and selection of caves by non-troglobitic salamanders and the relationships between cave occupancy and environmental characteristics of those caves (Ives, 1951; Hutchison, 1958; Barnett, 1970; Brandon, 1971b; Dodd et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Seasonal Use and Selection of Caves by Plethodontid Salamanders in a Karst Area of Arkansas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.