Rick Van de Poll
Department of Environmental Studies
Twenty-nine potential breeding pools in Wachusett Reservoir watershed were inventoried during the months of April and May, 2000 to document the presence or absence of marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum), spotted salamander (A. maculatum), and blue spotted salamander (A. laterale), and general pool characteristics. Three species detection methods were used including nocturnal searches (McGarigal & Jackson 2000), trapping (Richter 1995), and diurnal dip-net surveys (Shaffer et. al. 1994). Twenty-one of the 29 pools only contained evidence of A. maculatum breeding. One of the 29 pools contained evidence of both A. maculatum and Ambystoma opacum. No evidence of Ambystoma laterale was detected in any of the sampled pools. The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (MNHESP) lists A. opacum as a threatened species, and A. laterale as a special concern species. The pool characteristic assessment revealed the 69% of the sampled pools were of the upland isolated variety with dense, shrub dominated shorelines (gates and Thompson 1981). Chi-square analyses of pool type, in-pool cover, and shoreline vegetation did not reveal any significant association between characteristics of salamander pools and non-salamander pools. A number of other pool characteristics were measured including elevation, pool dimensions, pH, and dissolved oxygen. With the exception of pH, mean values of these characteristics were calculated for both salamander and non-salamander pools. No significant differences were detected between mean values of salamander pools and mean value of non-salamander pools. This project has provided baseline Ambystomatid spp. Data and confirmation of the only known breeding site for A. opacum within the Wachusett Reservoir watershed. This information will be added to the existing MNHESP rare species database for Massachusetts and will be incorporated into current and future MDC land management planning.