Declines of Eastern North American Woodland Salamanders (<i>Plethodon</i>)

Richard Highton

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Declines of Eastern North American Woodland Salamanders (Plethodon)

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Recent declines and extinctions of amphibian populations have been reported in many areas of the world. A majority of the documented declines are in easily detectable anuran species, including flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma cingulatum), southern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus auriculatus), and green salamanders (Aneides aeneus. However, other published reports indicate little change in eastern salamander populations. Since 1951, the author has done a great deal of fieldwork in eastern North America in the course of studies on the life histories, systematics, population genetics, and molecular evolution of the plethodontid genus Plethodon — the largest genus of salamanders in the United States (fifty-three presently recognized species). His findings indicate widespread declines in eastern North American populations of woodland salamanders in the region. The cause(s) of these population declines is (are) unknown, except that extensive habitat destruction by logging occurred at sixteen sites (twenty-two populations); but this accounts for only a small proportion of the observed declines.

Keywords: North America; life histories; systematics; population genetics; molecular evolution; population declines; woodland salamanders; habitat destruction; logging

Chapter.  8676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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