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Title: Diet of the Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus): Differences by age, gender, and season.

Author: Wheeler, Clara A.; Karraker, Nancy E.; Welsh, Hartwell H. Jr.; Ollivier, Lisa M.;

Date: 2007

Source: Northwestern Naturalist 88:85–94

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Terrestrial salamanders are integral components of forest ecosystems and the examination of their feeding habits may provide useful information regarding various ecosystem processes. We studied the diet of the Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus) and assessed diet differences between age classes, genders, and seasons. The stomachs of 309 subadult and adult salamanders, captured in spring and fall, contained 20 prey types. Nineteen were invertebrates, and one was a juvenile Del Norte Salamander, representing the first reported evidence of cannibalism in this species. Mites and ants represented a significant component of the diet across all age classes and genders, and diets of subadult and adult salamanders were fairly similar overall. We detected, however, an ontogenetic shift with termites and ants becoming less important and spiders and mites becoming more important with age. These differences between subadults and adults can likely be attributed to the inability of subadults to consume larger prey items due in part to gape limitation. The diet of the Del Norte Salamander, like other plethodontids, consists of a high diversity of prey items making it an opportunistic, sit-andwait predator.

Keywords: Del Norte Salamander, Plethodon elongatus, food habits, diet, northern California, southern Oregon

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Clara A. Wheeler; Nancy E. Karraker; Hartwell H. Welsh, Jr.; and Lisa M. Ollivier 2007. Diet of the Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus): Differences by age, gender, and season. Northwestern Naturalist 88:85–94

 


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