Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Michael Seidel

Third Advisor

Thomas Jones


The Eastern Hellbender’s natural history and morphology was examined. Field studies were done to examine the efficacy of different techniques (focusing on capturing larva) and diet analysis. Lab studies were done to determine if any sexual dimorphism exists in hellbenders using simple measurements (and ratios) and if this dimorphism could be used to reliably determine gender. Field studies were inconclusive due to the inability to find a reliable sample because of record rainfall. Lab studies revealed that a dimorphism does exist for one ratio (TG/TL, P=.048) and for several measurements. These measurements alone were not applicable for determining gender. Other ratios recorded definite trends signaling weak dimorphisms, but combinations of these ratios using principal component analysis were unable to conclusively separate genders. Therefore, while measurements and one ratio suggest a sexual dimorphism, this dimorphism is not distinctive enough to separate genders reliably.


Salamanders - Morphology.

Sexual dimorphism (Animals)