A life table for the salamander desmognathus quadramaculatus.
Previous studies of the black-bellied salamander, Desmognathus quadramaculatus, at Coweeta have shown that this population of the species is characterized by a lengthier larval period (3-4 yr)and greater ages at first reproduction (7-8 yr in males, 9-10 yr in females) than other populations of the species (Bruce 1988, Castanet et al. 1996, Bruce et al. in press). The late age at which females reproduce initially is especially remarkable. In order to complete a life table for the species at Coweeta, we need to 1)collect approximately 30 adult females, 2)dissect their reproductive organs to determine reproductive status and count follicles, and 3) age them using skeletochronology to determine annual growth marks in femurs. Toward this end we are asking permission to collect the specimens in May and early June of 2001 from a number of streams in Coweeta. Ideally, we would like to distribute the sampling over at least 10 streams or watersheds, to minimize the impacts on the population of any given stream.
In the field we simply turn rocks in and along streams and capture the salamanders by hand. On return to the laboratory the salamanders are preserved (using approved methods in accordance with IACUC guidelines), the reproductive organs are dissected, and the femurs are removed, sectioned, stained, and
examined microscopically for annual growth marks.