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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 20.1 years (captivity)
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Plethodon glutinosus is now taxonomically defined as a genetic complex consisting of at least thirteen species discernible only through laboratory testing, though many species are indistinguishable in the field and are therefore still considered for this project to be subspecies of a single lineage (Highton et al. 1989).

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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James Harding, Michigan State University
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Conservation Status

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According to the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, the slimy salamander is considered neither a threatened nor endangered species throughout its range. However, some species within the P. glutinosus complex (see Other Comments) may be candidates for the endangered and threatened species lists (USFWS 1999).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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Life Cycle

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Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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Trophic Strategy

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Prey of P. glutinosus consists mainly of ants (42%), followed by beetles (26%), sowbugs, and earthworms, depending on what is seasonally most prevalent (Davidson 1956).

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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James Harding, Michigan State University
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Distribution

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The slimy salamander has an extensive range throughout the eastern and central United States. Starting in central New York and the southern tip of Wisconsin, the range covers much of the eastern seaboard, moving southward to central Florida and the Gulf coast and westward to parts of east Texas and Oklahoma. It is notably absent from the lower Mississippi valley, presumably because flooding causes frequent disturbance to the preferred habitat of the slimy salamander in that region (Grobman 1944).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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Habitat

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The slimy salamander is commonly found beneath stones and decaying logs in wooded areas and alongside streams, as well as in the crevices of shale banks and along the sides of gullies and ravines (Davidson 1956; Grobman 1944). It generally moves about underground using animal and insect burrows (Cowley 1999). Mean home-range area is 3.01 +/- .613 sq. meters for adults and 3.46 +/- 1.851 sq. meters for juveniles (Marvin 1998).

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
5.5 years.

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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Morphology

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The slimy salamander has mainly black skin, covered by abundant silver-white or brassy specks, or both; the ventrum has variable shades but is generally lighter than the dorsum. The organism is distinguished from other dark salamanders in its range by the presence of a nasolabial groove. More noticeably, P. glutinosus is defined by a slimy, glue-like secretion released from its skin glands. It has 16 costal grooves, on rare occurrences 15 or 17, and generally ranges from 4.75 to 6.75 inches in length (Conant and Collins 1998). Hatchlings are born with only slight dark coloration on the dorsum and none on the ventrum; melanin for the specks begins to appear on the dorsum after three days. Adult females exhibit slightly larger snout-to-vent lengths than adult males, but are otherwise similar in appearance (Highton 1956).

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 4.2 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 0.00191 W.

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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James Yung, Michigan State University
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Reproduction

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Breeding of P. glutinosus takes place at the beginning of April and eggs are deposited anytime from late spring in the northern part of the range to very late summer at the range's southern tip. Eggs are laid in moist areas such as caves or under the bark of rotting trees. Clutch size ranges from 4 to 12 eggs. Hatchlings emerge close to three months after eggs are deposited (Highton 1956). Juveniles have no aquatic stage and develop directly to adulthood, as the species is entirely terrestrial (Feder 1983).

Female slimy salamanders do not sexually mature until they are two years old, and cannot lay eggs until approaching age three. The same is true for most males, although some have been found capable of breeding at two years of age. In regions where the growing season is short, a wait of three years is almost certain before sexual maturity is reached (Highton 1962).

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Average number of offspring: 21.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
910 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
910 days.

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Yung, J. 2000. "Plethodon glutinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodon_glutinosus.html
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Northern slimy salamander

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The northern slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) is a species of terrestrial plethodontid salamander found throughout much of the eastern two-thirds of the United States.

Geographic range

P. glutinosus is found from New York, west to Illinois, south to Mississippi, and east to Alabama, with isolated populations in southern New Hampshire and northwestern Connecticut.[2]

Common names

The northern slimy salamander is called so due to the slimy texture of its skin. It is also sometimes referred to as the viscid salamander, grey-spotted salamander, slippery salamander, or sticky salamander, depending on which source is consulted.[3]

Taxonomy

P. glutinosus is one of 57 species in the genus Plethodon and was one of the first of its cogeners to be described. Due to its large geographic range, some taxonomic researchers have suggested splitting P. glutinosus into several distinct species, but this is not widely accepted.

Description

Plethodon cylindraceusPCCA20060409-3176A.jpg

The northern slimy salamander is typically an overall black in color, with numerous silvery spots or gold spots across its back. It is usually 12–17 cm (4.7–6.7 in) in total length (including tail), but can grow to 20.6 cm (8.1 in).[4] Males are not easily distinguished from females, though females tend to be slightly larger. It has 15-17 costal grooves.

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A northern slimy salamander in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Behavior

All plethodontid salamanders are territorial, and fight aggressively for territory. Their preferred habitat is in moist soil or leaf litter beneath stones, rotting logs, or other debris near a permanent water source. They sometimes make use of other animals' burrows. Their diet consists primarily of ants, beetles, sow bugs, and earthworms, but they will consume most kinds of insect.

Reproduction

Breeding of P. glutinosus takes place in the spring, and courtship consists of the males performing a sort of dance to attract the females' attention. Females lay clutches of four to 12 eggs in a moist area, which she guards, often neglecting food for the period until they hatch. Hatchlings emerge from the eggs in about three months, having no aquatic stage, like many other salamander species. They instead develop directly into their entirely terrestrial adult form. Maturity is not reached for two to three years.

References

  1. ^ IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2014). "Plethodon glutinosus ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T59340A56365349. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T59340A56365349.en.
  2. ^ Powell, Robert; Conant, Roger; Collins, Joseph T. (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. xiv + 494 pp., 207 figures, 47 plates. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Plethodon glutinosus, pp. 82-84 + Plate 6).
  3. ^ "Amphibian Species of the World 6.0". AMNH. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  4. ^ Conant, Roger (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. xviii + 429 pp. + Plates 1-48. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Plethodon glutinosus, pp. 276-277 + Plate 41 + Map 230).

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Northern slimy salamander: Brief Summary

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The northern slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) is a species of terrestrial plethodontid salamander found throughout much of the eastern two-thirds of the United States.

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