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Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

This is a discussion on Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Yesterday a 3 am I suddenly had the desire to go look for Salamanders. I was in need of a ...

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 29th September 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

Yesterday a 3 am I suddenly had the desire to go look for Salamanders. I was in need of a few P.cinereus to feed my Ringneck snakes. Hey, yell at me later. I don't eat them the snakes do. So back to the story. It had rained for about an hour, not very hard but I thought it was enough to get things crawling about. When I arrived at the area I found the surface of the ground wet but not soaked down enough to get past the leaves and grass. The trees were mostly wet and blocking the little rain there was from reaching the dry earth below. You could see where the rain was running down from the canopy along the sides of the trees. Finally collecting where their roots enter the ground. Along the base of the trees I was finding plenty of P.cinereus out hunting in the darkness. It was cool to watch them out hunting. I have mostly ignored these common little salamanders except for snake food. Again yell at me later... Then I came to the interesting part. I was looking at the base of Spruce tree that was about 2 feet thick and I saw my first Eurycea bisleanta about 2 feet up the the tree. So I started looking around the tree and up. When I was done I found 5 total. The highest was about 7 feet off the ground and headed back down the tree. This was the first time ever seeing them climb like that.. They are normally in the seepage that is about 50 yards away but the seepage has been bone dry since June. I checked about a 1/2 acre of trees looking for more but found nothing. Why and how they all ended up on the same tree is a mystery to me. I know they lay eggs in April and May. So I doubt these little stream salamanders were breeding on a tree. But still I wonder was a female giving off pheromones to breed? Was I looking at some strange survival strategy for this little stream salamander or was it just some strange luck that all 5 ended up on the same tree, on the same night. I will be left just guessing about that. The night was slightly productive. I also found 3.3 American toads, 0.1 box turtles, 0.1 gray tree frog, 0.0.1 adult N. v. v. walking around, and 2 wood frogs. All I collected though was the redback salamanders. My snakes are very happy and now you can start yelling at me.



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Old 29th September 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I know you live in the city. How far from your home, or did you get up and drive to the country?



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Old 29th September 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I drove 1 1/2 hours to the woods. I could have drove 20 mins for them but being in the mountains in the dark is safer than being in a large city park in dark and I wouldn't have found the other animals I saw that night



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Old 30th September 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I've seen two-lines well away from water/ seep areas and also on the trunks of trees. Not sure why, though :/ And to only find them on one tree around you, seems like something going on there.

And, I go out and collect bugs for my salamanders, seems no different than collecting snake food..



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Old 1st October 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

...I bet you don't write about it on a Bug forum...



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Old 1st October 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

Other than the "Happy Bunny Club" in the axolotl section, I think most people on this forum understand the 'circle of life', for lack of a better term. While we do appreciate caudates for their awesomeness, we also understand that they are sometimes prey for other animals. It's just how it happens. It's not cruel, it's not mean. It just is.

It may be a little uncouth to write about it here, but I think we're all big enough to handle it. And it spawns interesting conversation.

Coastal, have you ever tried feeding any other types of sals to your snakes? I wonder if they'd eat axolotls. You could have an unending supply!



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Old 1st October 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I really dislike this kind of Threads where the only matter of it is to show how to use my pet species as live bait for other animals.
If this were a Snake forum that would be fine since I'd never be at one but this being at a salamander forum i find it very rude and disrespecting for the hobbie's definition to bring such matter into discussion, as Eva brought to the light and I strongly support her point of view since I have the same one.
As a great Plethodon fan in a place where they barely appear for sale and when they do for moderate high prices, even when they are ''just'' P cinereus; and as someone who is currently struggling to get my sexed pair of this species to breed so get more common with time, since they are nearly not even kept around here it sickens me to find such discussions.
I really hope the author of the thread to find a better place to have is items discussed since I find this a very bad joke...



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Old 1st October 2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I take offense to this,I know they get eaten by snakes in the wild but the snakes don't get help!Where are all the people that are against collecting from the wild.This is wrong but collecting for ones own collection is frowned upon here.Then someone suggests feeding axolotls to snakes!I thought people liked salamanders here.These post's are offensive to caudate owners but it's ok as long as "the snakes get their defenseless salamanders!



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Old 1st October 2012   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

Axolotls breed like rabbits. In fact, some people breed axolotls specifically as food for other animals. Doing so in this case would ease pressure on local wild populations of plethodons. But personally, I've found thousands of P. cinereus in an outing. Outside of invertebrates, their biomass per acre is more than any other living organism in their habitat. Responsible harvesting isn't going to damage populations.



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Old 1st October 2012   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I happily feed axolotls , xenopus, mexicanum/andersoni hybrids to my other amphibians. I have limited tank space and cant raise them all, I offer eggs for free for collection and have posted hundreds of eggs to my friends but I still have a surplus. Rather than just binning eggs i raise them and use them as food, my P.waltl colony goes mad for baby axolotls/hybrids and have consumed over a thousand this year , which will explain why they are so fat.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

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I've seen two-lines well away from water/ seep areas and also on the trunks of trees. Not sure why, though :/ And to only find them on one tree around you, seems like something going on there.

And, I go out and collect bugs for my salamanders, seems no different than collecting snake food..

I took some pictures of them and after going through them I see the largest and the one that was 7 ft. up (2.13meters) was a female with eggs starting to develop. I'm positive I was witnessing males chasing down a female to breed on land and not their normal watery habitat. This was a very good night. I had my suspicions and I think the pictures confirm them. I saw something very rare for people to see.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

When I'm out looking earthworms and see P. cinereus I may pick some up also. I've flipped logs and seen Blue Spotted and Yellow Spotted Salamanders eating Red Back Salamanders. P. cinereus are on the menu for other salamanders. Salamanders in general are potential food for other amphibians and other larger animals.

Gathering a couple worms and Red backs will save someone a couple dollars. It is easier for me to use Axolotl larvae or Bufo tadpoles though. I guess for some people this is a delicate subject but I'm assuming even some of them use (live) food items.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

There is nothing wrong with talking about feeding them to snakes. Snakes eating salamanders is the cycle of life. If I let my snakes go they would go crawl away and go eat a bunch of salamanders. Should I kill them for it? Should I not talk about it? The answer is no!!

Actually we need a thread about using salamanders for a food source of other salamander species. It's a important conversation but it would end up degrading into a bunch of child-like men yelling at each other on this site. Many on caudata use multiple species as a food source but keep quiet about to keep the hate mail down. It's not like I was using P.ruber or Eurycea bislineata as a food source.

I keep my species food source restricted to P. cinereus. A staple food source for many species of animals in their range. There isn't a carnivore in the woods from spider to bird that does not need them for their own survival. I do however understand how someone that cannot see hundreds on a single rainy night would cringe when they hear of them being used as food. It is possible to see a snake feeding on a salamander and feeling bad for the salamander but feeling good for the snake at the same time. I love all of nature and how it works. Some salamanders avoid the snake and the snake starves to death. Some snakes catch the salamander and live another day. I am the caretaker of the ringneck snakes. I am responsible for their health so I am morally obligated to feed them what they eat.

The Eurycea bislineata that were on the tree were in danger of being eaten by large wolf spiders (Hogna carolinensis) that I saw on other trees that night. Maybe everyone will feel better knowing I killed the spiders I saw. The Eurycea bislineata are safer now.....Oh great now the spider people will find fault with me. Good thing my mom still likes me. I think?



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Old 2nd October 2012   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

For some people, crickets are pets, or mice, or rabbits, or chickens, or...

Suck it up. Thing get eaten, and sometimes the diner won't accept substitutes.

I know someone who mass produces poison frogs, with excess blue poison frogs being used as experimental feeders or lab animals. In his view, it makes more sense than contributing to the endless consumption of WC animals for dissection or feed, and it means that his surplus production isn't "wasted". Granted, those are CB animals rather than WC, but they are still amphibians being sacrificed.

If you visit arachnid forums, it seems pretty common for scorpions [and less so, spiders] to be experimentally mixed, with the full expectation that some will die, and this is typically viewed with curiosity over what is learned from the results. The "how COULD you?" factor is largely absent.

Predator. Prey. Such is life. I would only have an issue with it if 1) there are more "acceptable" alternatives, 2) the prey used is in need of protection, 3) it's done purely as a blood sport, or 4) it's avoidable negligence [such as housing ANYTHING with Pachytriton].



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Old 2nd October 2012   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

I see no folly, in feeding P. cinerus to ringed-neck snakes. It's part of their regular diet and it keeps them healthy. Such things are natural and as much as I adore P. cinerus as the salamanders they are, I'm not upset that they are fair game for the other predators out there. It's happening out there all the time, every single day, so might as well get used to the thought.

On a side note, I used to harvest ringed-necks snakes to feed a milk snake I once had. It's part of their regular diet, it's normal, and if I didn't feed it what it wants it starves. (I even have a couple pictures of it eating one in one of my albums I think)

Also, I always thought these salamanders climbed trees at night in search of a particular food. Perhaps there are springtail or aphid species hiding in the tree bark that the salamaners love to eat. I imagined courting would be difficult vertically .



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Old 2nd October 2012   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

Could also be that water trickling down the trunk of the tree caused them to treat the trunk as if it were just another seepage.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

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I

Also, I always thought these salamanders climbed trees at night in search of a particular food. Perhaps there are springtail or aphid species hiding in the tree bark that the salamanders love to eat. I imagined courting would be difficult vertically .
I couldn't find any prey items on the tree. The female was the highest and was heading down the tree. The males were climbing up the tree. I have been looking up at those trees all my life for snail, slugs, and millipedes. I had never seen a salamander higher than the root base around the bottom of a tree. Seven feet up was a real surprise. Five Northern Two-lined salamanders on one tree was a bigger surprise. I will be looking up a lot more that is for sure.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

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Could also be that water trickling down the trunk of the tree caused them to treat the trunk as if it were just another seepage.
There was water running down the trees. Many of them just wet on one side as the light rain ran down the leaves and branches to the main trunk hitting the ground at the roots.



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Old 2nd October 2012   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

Caudata.org Newt and Salamander Forum - Coastal Groovin's Album: female two lined salamander developing eggs in October. - Picture

The female



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Old 2nd October 2012   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Herping for P. cinereus and Eurycea bislineata

A huge variety of plethodontid salamanders forage for food by climbing vegetation. There is research out there that showed the ones collected from vegetation had a higher number of food items in their guts than those on the ground, but I don't remember the reference. I know I saw Eric Juterbock presenting a poster on this at a conference, and it looks like he still has ongoing research on the subject.

Could be the female was foraging and the males followed her scent trail.



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