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Natural and anthropogenic substrates affect movement behavior of the Southern Graycheek Salamander (Plethodon metcalfi)

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Movement behavior is a critical process that interacts with landscape structure to affect population connectivity and persistence in fragmented or altered landscapes. The purpose of our study was to test whether different substrates (forest litter, soil, grass, gravel, and asphalt) found in fragmented forested landscapes affected the movement behavior of the Southern Graycheek Salamander (Plethodon metcalfi Brimley, 1912). Latency period of the salamanders was highest on grass substrate and significantly lower only on soil substrate. Sinuosity of the movement path of salamanders was lowest and contained more turns in grass and was significantly higher than only gravel and asphalt substrates. Velocity of the salamanders was highest on asphalt substrate but was not different from gravel substrate. Velocity was higher on asphalt than on grass, forest, or soil, and velocity was higher on gravel than on grass substrate. The results indicated that P. metcalfi reacted differently to natural and anthropogenic substrates, and we suggest that these behavioral differences could have both positive and negative implications for movement success and habitat resistance in forested landscapes fragmented by roads and development.

Keywords: Southern Graycheek Salamander (Plethodon metcalfi); amphibian; amphibien; comportement de déplacement; connectivity; connectivité; habitat resistance; movement behavior; roads; routes; résistance de l’habitat; salamandre Plethodon metcalfi; sinuosity; sinuosité; substrat; substrate; velocity; vitesse

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: CEMML Colorado State University, Fort Polk, LA 71459, USA. 2: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA. 3: College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424, USA. 4: University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. 5: Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, NY 14424, USA. 6: Berry College, Mount Berry, GA 30149, USA. 7: University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, USA. 8: Michigan State University, Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

Publication date: September 17, 2012

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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