Date of Graduation

Summer 2008


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Alicia Mathis


Ozark zigzag salamander, Plethodon angusticlavius, foraging, predation, five-lined skink, Eumeces fasciatus, interspecific competition

Subject Categories



Under most natural conditions, there is a trade-off between foraging efficiency and anitpredatory vigilance. This study examined the foraging tactics of the Ozark zigzag salamander (Plethodon angusticlavius) under low and high levels of threat. I predicted that the salamander would specialize on the most profitable prey type under low levels of threat but would forage randomly under high threat. Salamanders in the blank treatment did not specialize on high-calorie prey, probably because they required more handling time than low-calorie prey. Salamanders consumed fewer prey under high levels of threat but salamanders exhibited intermediate foraging levels under low levels of threat, which were substrate markings from a five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus). This result may indicate that salamanders and skinks are competitors or skinks are predators of salamanders. This study also examined the aggressive and antipredatory behaviors of salamanders toward skinks. Small salamanders were more aggressive in the presence of a large skink while large salamanders were more submissive. Salamanders decreased nose tapping in the presence of a large skink. Salamanders behaved differently toward small skinks than they did conspecifics. These data suggest that small salamanders may view large skinks as potential predators but probably do not view skinks as competitors.


© Morgan L. Presley

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