Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Jayme L. Waldron

Third Advisor

Dan K. Evans


Global amphibian declines have spawned a need for amphibian monitoring studies using standardized sampling techniques for early detection of population declines. The Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus) is a declining plethodontid salamander (Family: Plethodontidae) associated with rock outcrops and arboreal habitat. The unique habitat requirements of this species make A. aeneus populations particularly susceptible to habitat perturbations. Although primarily associated with rock outcrops, A. aeneus morphology and ecology suggest that A. aeneus may be highly mobile. High mobility has important implications for habitat management, particularly pertaining to land surrounding rock outcrops. However, few studies have addressed plethodontid movement patterns, which are fundamental to understanding the ecology of a species and provide vital information for conservation initiatives. Thus, I investigated A. aeneus movement patterns in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Specifically, my objectives were to 1) use fluorescent powder to quantify daily movement patterns and 2) assess the efficiency of using artificial cover (i.e., burlap) in A. aeneus monitoring protocols. Use of fluorescent powder is an effective method of tracking amphibians that involves using a ultra-violet light to illuminate an individual‟s path. I attached burlap bands to trees in transects within the study area and surveyed for A. aeneus seeking artificial cover as they climbed the trunks. I tracked movements of 37 A. aeneus and 21 Cumberland Plateau Salamanders (Plethodon kentucki). The maximum distance traveled by a single A. aeneus within 24 hours was 14.8 m. I used a two-way ANOVA to investigate the effects of species and sex on salamander movement. Species had no significant effect on salamander movement, but sex had a significant effect, with males moving farther than females. Body size of A. aeneus was not correlated with distance moved. Season and habitat had no effect on A. aeneus movement. After 131 surveys at 6 study sites, I found 4 A. aeneus using artificial arboreal cover. Nocturnal surveys were more effective for detecting A. aeneus than diurnal surveys. Additionally, area constrained searches detected A. aeneus more effectively than transect surveys. Information gathered from this study provides valuable information about plethodontid movement in general, which will assist management of A. aeneus habitat.


Climbing salamanders - Kanawha County (W. Va.)

Lungless salamanders - Kanawha County (W. Va.)