Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Donald Tarter

Third Advisor

Michael Seidel


A study was conducted on Desmognathus quadramaculatus in the northern periphery of its range with some aspects of its life history, surface density, and seasonal foraging habits. The results in this study are compared to studies done on D. quadramaculatus in the southern portion of its range. Female D. quadramaculatus have been found tending egg clutches from June to September in the southern portion of its range and data collected in this study shows that egg deposition also occurs during this period in the northern population. Female size (SVL) at which D. quadramaculatus reach sexual maturity ranged from 57.6- 77.5 mm in the northern population where sexually mature females females were found to have SVL of 73-75 mm in the southern portion of the range. Larval period and size class composition in the northern population also appeared to differ from studies done on southern populations. The smallest D. quadramaculatus found in the northern population had a SVL of 12.1 mm, whereas in the southern populations, it was 16 mm. Metamorphosis occurred anywhere from two, three, or even four years depending on the elevation and population studied. Other investigators estimated a 34-35 month larval period with some of the larvae having a fourth year. In this study, I found five size classes of larvae which indicated a 54-60 month larval period. Substrate utilization was examined for D. quadramaculatus and D. monticola. Post­ metamorphic D. monticola were almost entirely found foraging terrestrially. Post-metamorphic D. quadramaculatus were found foraging above the water surface 97.5% in June, 72.7% in July, 50.0% in August, and 40.0% in September. From October to April the post-metamorphic D. quadramaculatus foraged below the water surface. Larval dipterans were found to be the most abundant invertebrate taxa and made up the largest percentage of the overall diet and occurred in the most stomachs of D. quadramaculatus. The diet of pre-metamorphic salamanders was made up of predominantly aquatic invertebrate taxa throughout the year while the post-metamorphic diet varied by season and contained large portions of terrestrial invertebrate taxa.


Salamanders - West Virginia.