Caddo Mountain Salamander
© 2011 Mike Steffen (1 of 6)
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
Plethodon caddoensis Pope and Pope, 1951
Carl D. Anthony1
1. Historical versus Current Distribution. Caddo Mountain salamanders (Plethodon caddoensis) are locally distributed in the Caddo and Cossatot mountains of western Arkansas. Knowledge of their geographic range has been expanded since the species was first collected on Polk Creek Mountain by Pope and Pope (1951; see Pope, 1964b; Blair and Lindsay, 1965; Duncan and Highton, 1979; Plummer, 1982). Blair (A.P., 1957b) reported specimens from the south side of Poteau Mountain near Oliver, Arkansas, but repeated field trips to this area have not yielded any specimens. Caddo Mountain salamanders are apparently not found outside the Novaculite Uplift (Plummer, 1982). Caddo Mountain salamanders are considered a Species of Special Concern in Arkansas. Their historical distribution is unknown.
2. Historical versus Current Abundance. Abundant and widespread within their limited range. No changes in abundance have been noted.
3. Life History Features.
A. Breeding. Reproduction is terrestrial.
i. Breeding migrations. Breeding migrations are unknown.
ii. Breeding habitat. Breeding may occur in late fall, winter, or early spring (Taylor et al., 1990). Breeding habitat is unknown, but breeding may take place in deep crevices (see below) or perhaps on the forest floor under moist conditions.
i. Egg deposition sites. Nest sites have been found in abandoned mines (Heath et al., 1986; D.A. Saugey, unpublished data). Caves and deep crevices may be important breeding habitats as well. Ratios of reproductive to nonreproductive females suggest that females breed biennially (Taylor et al., 1990).
ii. Clutch size. A mean of 11.3 enlarged ovarian follicles from 22 mature females was reported by Taylor et al. (1990). A mean of 7.8 eggs (range = 4–11) was noted by Saugey (unpublished data).
C. Direct Development. Saugey (unpublished data) has observed females attending egg clutches. Eggs have been observed as early as 9 June and hatching as late as 5 November.
D. Juvenile Habitat. Same as adult habitat.
E. Adult Habitat. Caddo Mountain salamanders are most commonly found at higher elevations of mixed deciduous, north-facing wooded slopes (Pope and Pope, 1951; Plummer, 1982; Petranka, 1998). Rocks, logs, and other forest debris are common cover objects. Moisture conditions at the surface appear to influence activity greatly (Plummer, 1982), with salamanders retreating to lower levels of talus to escape hot and dry conditions (Spotila, 1972). Caves and abandoned mines are also utilized (Saugey et al., 1985; Heath et al., 1986).
F. Home Range Size. Unknown.
G. Territories. Adult Caddo Mountain salamanders recognize and respond to odors of conspecifics (Anthony, 1993), and they defend areas in laboratory chambers (Thurow, 1976; Anthony, 1995). Territory size is unknown.
H. Aestivation/Avoiding Dessication. Populations move underground in late May, but may return to the surface during periods of rainfall and/or cool weather. By mid September, adults can again be found under cover objects at the surface.
I. Seasonal Migrations. Unknown.
J. Torpor (Hibernation). Probably hibernates from mid November to late March.
K. Interspecific Associations/Exclusions. Occur syntopically with western slimy salamanders (P. albagula) and southern red-backed salamanders (P. serratus). Kuss (1986) found their habitat to be similar to that of western slimy salamanders. Dowling (1956) observed that Caddo Mountain salamanders become active on the forest floor earlier in the evening than do western slimy salamanders, which may prefer cooler and more humid conditions.
L. Age/Size at Reproductive Maturity. Maturity is reached at approximately 40 mm SVL (Highton, 1962a). Age at maturity is unknown.
M. Longevity. Individuals that were sexually mature when collected have been kept in the laboratory for at least 3 yr. Longevity is probably > 6 yr.
N. Feeding Behavior. Unknown, but prey likely consists of small invertebrates such as worms, insects, and spiders.
O. Predators. Unknown.
P. Anti-Predator Mechanisms. Nocturnal. As well, all Plethodon produce noxious skin secretions (Brodie, 1977). Similar to other members of the P. glutinosus group, Caddo Mountain salamanders release an adhesive secretion when handled.
Q. Diseases. Unknown.
R. Parasites. Winter et al. (1986) found trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, and mites on 25 adults. Intradermal mites of the genus Hannemania are common (Saugey et al., 1985; Winter et al., 1986), with 7–75% of individuals infected (Duncan and Highton, 1979; Anthony et al., 1994). They appear as raised red pustules, typically found on the trunk (Winter et al., 1986; Anthony et al., 1994). Males incur greater infection intensities than do females (Anthony et al., 1994).
4. Conservation. Caddo Mountain salamanders have a local distribution in the Caddo and Cossatot mountains of western Arkansas, and within this limited range they are abundant. No changes in abundance have been noted. Caddo Mountain salamanders are considered a Species of Special Concern in Arkansas.
1Carl D. Anthony
Literature references for Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species, edited by Michael Lannoo, are here.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 14 Jul 2020.
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