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Some questions about P.glutinosus

This is a discussion on Some questions about P.glutinosus within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Ive been trying to find as much info as possible about this specie but its surprisingly scarce. Ive noticed big ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 18th August 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default Some questions about P.glutinosus

Ive been trying to find as much info as possible about this specie but its surprisingly scarce.
Ive noticed big adult animals have bright white dots on the sides, but dull and faded dots on the back (My biggest animal follows that "rule"), while juveniles have bright dots all over their bodies.
Is the faded dorsal spotting just a sign of age, or is it related with sexual maturity? Of course this two are related, but what i mean is if as soon as sexual maturity is achieved, the dorsal spots will fade.
I also have a question about nasolabial grooves. All my animals, even the smallest one seem to have very tiny but noticiable grooves. I thought this were exclusive of males, but im guessing both sexes have them, being the males who have larger grooves during mating season, is that right? Are the nasolabial grooves also related with sexual maturity?

My final question is about feeding habits. Being terrestrial salamanders that live in humid forests, i was expecting them to fancy slugs, but none of my animals care about them, they dont even notice them. They take eartworms, wax worms and crickets without problems but they wont touch anything else.

Oh, one final thing....ive read they are territorial(not agressive, but they do have territories). Mine dont seem to. They share hiding places and they move from one shelter to another. Except one of them tht rarely comes out and is almost always underground. Is this normal or am i doing something wrong?



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Old 19th August 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Hi Rodrigo, The easiest way to sex these salamanders is look at the chin, the male will have a round pad the female won't. The pad is always there but its more prominent in breeding season.The white spot issue is an age thing.



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Old 19th August 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Thank you Ian.
Ive had a hard time trying to see any differences between their chins, not only because they move a lot and are difficult to grab steady, but also because i have nothing to compare with. Ill try my best to take pics and see if you can give me your opinion.
So, it means an animal with bright dorsal spots might be sexually mature(a young adult)?



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Old 19th August 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Spot patterns are not a reliable indicator of sexual maturity. Though there may be trends with age, color pattern has not been documented in any significant way.

If you know age or can measure size that would be a better means. This is from Beamer and Lannoo's account for the species from Amphibiaweb:

L. Age/Size at Reproductive Maturity. The smallest mature female from Frederick County, Maryland, was 62 mm SVL; the smallest mature male was 60 mm. The smallest mature female from Bedford County, Pennsylvania, was 61 mm SVL and the smallest mature male was 54 mm SVL. Maturity in these populations is probably not reached until 4 yr old (but see also Semlitsch, 1980b). Females from these locations have a biennial breeding cycle (Highton, 1962b).
The smallest mature female from southern Illinois was 50 mm SVL and the smallest mature male was 47 mm SVL. Maturity in these populations may be reached at 3 yr old (Highton, 1962b). The smallest mature female from Giles County, Virginia, was 57 mm SVL and the smallest mature male was 45 mm SVL. Maturity in these populations is probably reached at the age of 3 or 4 (Pope and Pope, 1949; Highton, 1962b).
The smallest male with a well-developed mental gland in Ohio was 48 mm SVL (Pfingsten, 1989d).


Hope that helps some.
-Tim



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Old 19th August 2008   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

One other suggestion, it is much easier to view the chin if you place the salamander in a clear deli container or glass bowl. This is how I sex most of the plethodontids I care for.
-Tim



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Old 19th August 2008   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Thank you very much Taherman. I took them out of the terrarium this early afternoon(not easy....) and did exactly that...i put them on a transparent container and took a look. I have a juvenile, still way too small, one that could be a female but i think its still just not mature and what i believe is a mature male. Ill try to messure the male and the possibly young female.
The coloration thing was just a guess i had made based on my animals size and coloration and a few pics, it was mostly curiosity. Thanx for clearing that up.

About the one i think is a male...its got just a clearer patch on the chin, is not prominent and its quite subtle. Is that what the mental gland is supossed to look like out of breeding season?
Thank you for your time.



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Old 19th August 2008   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Yes, it will just look like a lightly pigmented circular area, during the breeding season it will appear slightly raised compared to surrounding skin and more prominent.

Good luck with your pair!
-Tim



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Old 19th August 2008   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

http://www.freewebs.com/slimysalaman...hernslimys.htm

Here is pictures telling the difference.



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Old 23rd August 2008   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Thank you Cameron, my problem is that they are either too young or out of breeding season, so i needed to see what a mental gland out of season looks like, but it was very helpfull nevertheless. In your photos i couldnt see even the slightless sign of nasolabial grooves on the female, i thought both had them, males having the bigger more obvious ones.



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Old 26th August 2008   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Females do not have them.



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Old 27th August 2008   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

To clarify, all plethodontids of both sexes have nasolabial grooves, however they are more apparent in some some species, and often in males. They can be very difficult to see with the naked eye sometimes. Females do lack mental glands.

-Tim



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Old 18th June 2009   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some questions about P.glutinosus

Most of the salamanders I've encountered (actually a lot of herps in general) tend to have more vibrant coloration when they are younger, I'm not sure it has anything to do w/sexual maturity though.

As for their diet, I wouldn't worry too much, although you tend to see slugs in many of the same places you'll find salamanders, you'll also find a great deal of earthworms and beetles too (among other insects), so it may just be that they prefer one over the other.

I'm not sure about the territorial thing, but I know I've found slimy's under rocks around the the base of the same tree (about a foot apart), they weren't very large one's so maybe their range increases with age, or they are more territorial when they are close to mating season.

Hope this helped, and if anyone can correct any of my points it'd be greatly appreciated, I'm by no means an expert.



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