Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Degree

Master of Natural and Applied Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Brian Greene

Keywords

Bolitoglossa biseriata, caudate, chytrid, diet, ecology, habitat, Oedipina complex, Oedipina parvipes, plethodontidae

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

I conducted a mark-recapture study to assess the natural history of a Neotropical salamander community in three discrete 4–6 week sampling periods at Chorro Las Yayas, a protected natural area of about 8000 m2 in central Panama, during an extended drought. I captured 87 Bolitoglossa biseriata, 17 Oedipina complex, and 15 O. parvipes. Bolitoglossa biseriata, had a mean mass of 0.8 ± 0.4 g with a mean snout-vent length (SVL) of 31.45 ± 5.30 mm. Bolitoglossa biseriata was active throughout the night, and its detection rate varied with season, air temperature, and amount of precipitation in the previous 24 h. A principal components analysis indicated that B. biseriata utilized all of the available ground-level habitats within the study site. A chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was detected on B. biseriata and O. parvipes but I did not observe any mortality resulting from infection. Oedipina at the site were detected mainly on wet nights. Oedipina complex and B. biseriata detections decreased significantly after the first field season as the drought continued. Drought conditions are predicted to become more common as a result of climate change; my data suggest that this could lead to a decrease in surface activity of some tropical plethodontid species. Conservationists need to be aware of the effects of drought on surface activity of these species and understand that it likely will make monitoring and detection of population changes more difficult.

Copyright

© Leslie Caren Brinkman

Open Access

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