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Journal Article

Historic and Current Amphibian and Reptile Distributions in the Island Region of Western Lake Erie

Richard B. King, Michael J. Oldham, Wayne F. Weller and Douglas Wynn
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 138, No. 1 (Jul., 1997), pp. 153-173
DOI: 10.2307/2426663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2426663
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Historic and Current Amphibian and Reptile Distributions in the Island Region of Western Lake Erie
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Abstract

Records of amphibians and reptiles from the island region of western Lake Erie (Essex County, Ontario; Erie and Ottawa counties, Ohio) span more than a century and include 50 species, 35 of which have been recorded from at least one of 19 islands. Local colonization events, transient species, population declines and local extirpations occurring within this century are evident from these records. Furthermore, these records provide a baseline for monitoring future changes in distribution. Unusual components of the Lake Erie amphibian and reptile fauna include unisexual, polyploid and hybrid ambystomatid salamanders; a population of redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) consisting almost entirely of lead-back morphs; populations of Lake Erie water snakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum) that are highly variable in color pattern and provide an exceptionally clear example of the effects of natural selection and gene flow, and populations of common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) consisting of up to 50% jet-black melanistic individuals. Total number of amphibian and reptile species is positively correlated with island area but uncorrelated with distance to the mainland; however, among salamanders, species numbers decrease with increasing distance to the mainland.

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