Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Tom Pauley

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


In West Virginia, as throughout its range, there is limited information about the life history of the cave salamander (Eurycea lucifuga). The purpose of this study was to describe the natural history of this species in West Virginia. The objectives of this study were to determine habitat selection of the cave salamander, to ascertain its environmental characteristics, and to study its reproductive and non-reproductive biology. Three study caves were located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. All sites were examined at least once each month from May 1999 through April 2000. Caves were divided into three zones: entrance, twilight, and dark. The only environmental parameter that determined the cave salamanders habitat choice was the relative humidity of the crevices. Eggs were observed between 12 September and 9 November 1999. All eggs hatched within 52 days (+/- 6 days). Larvae were found all months of the study. Larval period was determined to be over 22 months. Adult prey items consisted of twelve prey taxa, with the order Diptera comprising the largest percentage of food. Salamander movements, habitat use, and community ecology are also discussed.


Greenbrier County (W. Va.).

Salamanders – West Virginia.

Salamanders – Ecology.

Salamanders – Habitat – West Virginia.

Brook salamanders – West Virginia.