Ocmulgee Slimy Salamander
© 2010 Todd Pierson (1 of 1)
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
Plethodon ocmulgee Highton, 1989
David A. Beamer1
1. Historical versus Current Distribution. Ocmulgee slimy salamanders (Plethodon ocmulgee) are found in the upper Coastal Plain and adjacent Piedmont Physiographic Provinces of central Georgia associated with the Ocmulgee River drainage (Highton, 1989). The type specimens were collected at an elevation of 49 m. There is little evidence that their current distribution differs from the historical distribution, although Highton (2003) could not find animals at his Long County, Georgia, site. Further sampling will be required to determine whether or not this population is truly extirpated.
2. Historical versus Current Abundance. Highton (2003) sampled three populations of Ocmulgee slimy salamanders from Bulloch, Long, and Wheeler counties in Georgia in 1953–'88, then resampled them in or after 1995. He found evidence of precipitous declines (fewer than half the original number of animals observed in the resurvey) in two populations (Long and Wheeler counties, Georgia). Whether these data reflect true declines or natural population fluctuations can only be determined with additional sampling.
3. Life History Features. Ocmulgee slimy salamanders have been only recently described (Highton, 1989). Since this time, there has been no published work done on this species. As a portion of his larger research program, R. Highton has collected basic life history and natural history information on Ocmulgee slimy salamanders and has plans to publish these data in a monographic treatment.
A. Breeding. Reproduction is terrestrial.
i. Breeding migrations. Undocumented, but breeding migrations are unknown for any Plethodon species.
ii. Breeding habitat. Unknown.
i. Egg deposition sites. Undocumented.
ii. Clutch size. Unknown.
C. Direct Development.
i. Brood sites. Unknown, but are likely to be the same as egg deposition sites.
ii. Parental care. Unknown, but it is likely that females brood, as with other members of the slimy salamander complex.
D. Juvenile Habitat. Unknown, but as with other Plethodon, likely to be similar to adult habitat.
E. Adult Habitat. Include forest-floor habitats. Logs and rocks are used as cover objects during the daytime. Animals tend to be nocturnal, and activity levels likely are related to moisture levels.
F. Home Range Size. Unknown, but small home ranges are typical for Plethodon species.
G. Territories. At least some members of the Plethodon glutinosus complex aggressively defend territories (Thurow, 1976); it is unknown whether Ocmulgee slimy salamanders establish and defend territories.
H. Aestivation/Avoiding Dessication. Generally unknown, but Ocmulgee slimy salamanders likely avoid desiccating conditions by seeking shelter in underground sites.
I. Seasonal Migrations. Unknown, but vertical migrations from surface sites to underground sites and back again are likely to be important in surviving seasonally variable conditions.
J. Torpor (Hibernation). Generally unknown, but Ocmulgee slimy salamanders likely avoid cold conditions by seeking shelter in underground sites.
K. Interspecific Associations/Exclusions. Undocumented.
L. Age/Size at Reproductive Maturity. Unknown. The holotype is an adult male 56 mm SVL; the allotype is a 62 mm adult female.
M. Longevity. Unknown.
N. Feeding Behavior. Unknown, but as with other Plethodon species, feeding likely takes place at night under moist conditions. Prey items likely include a range of invertebrates, especially insects.
O. Predators. Undocumented, but likely to include forest snakes, birds, and small mammals.
P. Anti-Predator Mechanisms. Nocturnal. Secretive. All members of the genus Plethodon produce noxious skin secretions (Brodie, 1977).
Q. Diseases. Unknown.
R. Parasites. Unknown.
4. Conservation. Ocmulgee slimy salamanders are not protected by Georgia, the only state within their range. Among members of the P. glutinosus complex, Ocmulgee slimy salamanders have one of the smaller distributions. There are few federal and state properties that preserve suitable habitat for these salamanders.
Acknowledgments. Thanks to Richard Highton, who reviewed this account and gave us the benefit of his insight and experience.
1David A. Beamer
2Michael J. Lannoo
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 11 Aug 2020.
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