Relative abundance of terrestrial salamanders in forests of different age classes in western Massachusetts

DeTour, Darrell
Rick Van de Poll
Department of Environmental Studies
Terrestrial salamanders were sampled in three different forest age classes in western Massachusetts from mid-May through mid-September of 1998. Using a non-destructive removal technique, fifty coverboards were placed in a 90-meter-square grid in each of three sites of different forest age classes; old growth, second-growth and recently clearcut. Two species of salamander were captured: 96 eastern redbacks (plethodon cinereus) and 1 two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata). Of the total 97 salamanders, 23 (24%) were captured in the old-growth site, 38 (39%) in the second-growth site and 36 (37%) in the recently cut (seed tree regeneration) site. The captured salamanders were uniformly distributed across Sites A and B, but were clumped along one edge of Site C. The lower number of salamanders captured at Site A may be due to less surface activity because of a greater abundance of natural cover objects and a deeper litter layer. The clumping of captures as well as the higher ratio of juveniles (sub-adults included) captured in Site C (41.66%) most likely indicates recruitment into newly vacated territories of salamanders from adjacent mature forest stands. No significant difference was found in the mean snout-to-vent length (SVL) of salamanders from the three sites. Recover of the salamander population in Site C may be consistent with recovery rates on recently clearcut plots in other regions.

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