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Seasonal patterns of lipid storage in two salamander species in Northwestern Georgia

North Carolina Academy of Science.
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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


SEASONAL PATTERNS OF LIPID STORAGE IN TWO SALAMANDER SPECIES IN NORTHWESTERN GEORGIA CARLOS D. CAMP Department of Biology, Piedmont College, P.O. Box 10 Demorest, Georgia 30535-0100 JOHN B. JENSEN Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program 116 Rum Creek Drive, Forsyth, Georgia 31029-6518 Email: john_ [email protected] Abstract: Seasonal changes in food content and lipid stores in adult males were examined of two species of trogloxenic salamander collected from in and around caves on Pigeon Mountain in northwestern Georgia during 2001. Both Eurycea lucifuga and Plethodon glutinosus exhibited significant seasonal changes in lipid reserves. Lipid content was low for both species in late winter, indicating a negative energy budget during that season. Although restricted to food-poor, underground retreats, both species were able to maintain or increase lipid reserves during summer. Food content also exhibited significant seasonal change in P. glutinosus. The same seasonal pattern was present in specimens that had been previously collected for a dietary analysis of this species at the same location. Feeding was maximized during late winter and spring when salamanders were able to forage in the arthropod-rich floor of deciduous forest. Samples were too small to yield significant results in the analysis of feeding by E. lucifuga. Key Words: nutrition; lipid; foraging; plethodontid. INTRODUCTION Salamanders, like other animals, depend on feeding to provide necessary energy, and thus restrictions on foraging necessarily limit the amount of energy available for ongoing biological functions. Plethodontids, being lungless, depend on maintaining wet, porous skins to effect gas exchange (Feder 1983), and they lose water at functionally the same rate as free water-surfaces (Spotila and Berman, 1976). These salamanders are thereby constrained by the need to forage under cool and moist environmental conditions (Jaeger

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