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Effects of Adult Presence on Behavior and Microhabitat Use of Juveniles of a Desmognathine Salamander
Stewart A. Colley, W. Hubert Keen and Ronald W. Reed
Vol. 1989, No. 1 (Feb. 27, 1989), pp. 1-7
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445596
Page Count: 7
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The influence of adult Desmognathus monticola salamanders on microhabitat use and behavior of conspecific juveniles was investigated to test the hypothesis that juveniles avoid adults and thus diminish their risk of predation and of competitive interference interactions. Juveniles and adults generally are segregated in field populations, not by absolute distance, but by habitat, caused by differential usage of cover sites and substrate moisture. In field enclosure and laboratory experiments, the frequency of juvenile-adult encounters was low because juveniles avoided refuges inhabited by adults. Juveniles also used smaller cover sites and more coarse substrates in the presence of adults. Adults used larger cover sites and occupied fine substrates more frequently. Juveniles and adults had similar temporal activity patterns. The microhabitat use and behavior of juvenile D. monticola effectively diminish the frequency of juvenile-adult encounters, and thus probably the frequency of salamander predation on juvenile conspecifics. This avoidance behavior may have evolved under selection against intraspecific predation or under selection against interference interactions between two individuals of similar body size.