Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Alicia Mathis


Body condition is a measure of the size of energy reserves such as fat and protein, which can influence health and the ability to obtain resources in aggressive encounters. Individuals with better body condition ultimately experience a fitness advantage. Physiological factors such as sex, reproductive condition, and diet can influence body condition of individuals. Body condition could be affected positively or negatively after an animal is kept in captivity for extended periods of time. In the first chapter, I explore whether sex, season (fall and spring), and time in containment at the laboratory influences body condition. In the second chapter, I examined how body conditions affected aggressive behavior in staged contests between pairs. Contestants were paired in either symmetric (same body condition) or asymmetric (different body condition) pairs. The prediction based on evolutionary game theory is that symmetric contests should result in higher levels of aggressive behavior than asymmetric contests.


body condition, salamanders, aggressive behavior, seasonal effects, laboratory containment

Subject Categories

Integrative Biology | Other Animal Sciences


© Ayesha Farooq

Open Access