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Triturus ivanbureschi (Buresch’s Crested Newt). Defensive behavior

Herpetological Review 45(2), 2014
(Campostoma spp.), Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus),
Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus), White Sucker
(Catostomus commersoni), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris),
and Johnny (Etheostoma nigrum), Rainbow (E. caeruleum), and
Fantail Darters (E. flabellare). Stonecats (Noturus flavus) were
found with Mudpuppies at all but one of the Upper Iowa River
sites; like the Mudpuppy, this species is strongly associated with
rock slabs or boulders.
We thank Melissa Markert, Cassandra Hulett, and Rebecca
Snyder for assistance in the field. Liz Harper of the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources facilitated our Mudpuppy
survey, which was funded by a contract from that organization.
PHILIP A. COCHRAN (e-mail: and GARY M.
BORASH, Biology Department, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, 700
Terrace Heights, Winona, Minnesota 55987, USA.
PLETHODON CHATTAHOOCHEE (Chattahoochee Slimy Sala-
mander). PREDATION. Relatively few instances of predation
upon members of the Plethodon glutinosus complex have been
reported. To our knowledge, predation by Thamnophis sirtalis
(Common Gartersnake) has been reported for P. cylindraceus
(Uhler et al. 1939. Trans. Am. Wildl. Conf. 4:605–622), P. albagula
(Konvalinka and Trauth 2003. Herpetol. Rev. 34:378), and P. gluti-
nosus (McCoard 2008. Unpubl. MS Thesis. Marshall University).
Here, we report the first documented instance of predation of P.
chattahoochee by T. sirtalis. At approximately 1400 h on 13 April
2013, we encountered a small adult T. sirtalis swallowing the last
few inches of the tail of an adult P. chattahoochee in Fannin Co.,
Georgia, USA (34.73923°N, 84.141092°W, datum: WGS 84). Upon
being discovered, the snake rapidly swallowed the remainder
of the salamander and crawled away (Fig. 1). Soil and leaf litter
were stuck to the face and snout of the snake presumably due to
the defensive skin secretions produced by the salamander.
mail:, and MALAVIKA RAJEEV (e-mail: mrajeev@uga.
edu), Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens GA, 30602,
SIREN LACERTINA (Greater Siren). HABITAT. Typically, Si-
ren lacertina is associated with permanent or semi-permanent
freshwater marshes, rivers, lakes and other freshwater bodies
throughout the southeastern United States (Petranka 1998. Sala-
manders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Books,
Washington, DC. 587 pp.). Though some salamanders have dis-
played salt tolerance, including Siren lacertina (Neill 1958. Bull.
Mar. Sci. Gulf Caribb. 8:1–96) and the closely related S. interme-
dia (Asquith and Altig 1986. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 84:683–
685), observations of estuarine water habitat usage by caudates
is rare in the literature.
On 04 May 2013, while conducting aquatic surveys using
standard aquatic funnel traps in Everglades National Park, Dade
Co., Florida, USA, two S. lacertina were trapped at a sampling
site directly adjacent the Main Park Rd near the Hell’s Bay
canoe trail launch (25.232367°N, 80.823283°W; datum WGS 84).
The habitat was a monoculture of Red Mangrove (Rhizophora
mangle), and salinity was measured with a refractometer (Cole-
Parmer RHS-10/ATC). Salinity at the time of capture was 4 ‰,
indicative of the oligohaline mixing of upper estuaries typical in
the southern Everglades (Davis et al. 2005. Wetlands 25:832–842).
Specimens were photographed, but not vouchered due to permit
constraints. This represents the first documented instance
of mangrove swamp habitat usage and one of only two (Neill,
op. cit.) known instances of tolerance of saline conditions by S.
lacertina. Red mangrove provides a highly structured habitat
that S. lacertina may prefer given its well-known preference for
such microhabitats (Petranka, op. cit.).
This work was conducted under Everglades National Park
Permit #EVER0013 and partially funded by a Palm Beach Atlantic
University Quality Initiative Grant.
HANNAH BOSS, THOMAS CHESNES, Department of Biology, Palm
Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401, USA; JOSHUA
D. HOLBROOK, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic Uni-
versity, Davie, Florida 33314, USA (e-mail:
SIVE BEHAVIOR. Defensive behaviors of salamanders have been
well reviewed (Brodie et al. 1974. Herpetologica 30:7985; Brodie
1977. Copeia 1977:523–535). Triturus ivanbureschi is a member
of the T. karelinii group (Salamandridae), which is distributed
over the south-eastern Balkan Peninsula, covering most of Bul-
garia, eastern parts of Greece, eastern Republic of Macedonia,
Serbia, European and Asian Turkey (western parts up to ca. 300
km inland; Wielstra et al. 2013. Zootaxa 3682:441–453). To date,
the defensive behavior of this species has not been described.
On 5 April 2005, one of us (PB) found and photographed
a subadult specimen of T. ivanbureschi near Primorsko in
southeastern Bulgaria (42.31435°N, 27.75773°E, datum WGS
84; elev. 103 m). The specimen was found under a stone
together with a specimen of the snake Malpolon insignitus. The
salamander coiled its tail and upper part of the body while was
being handled. After releasing it on the ground, the salamander
remained in the same position, then it also crooked its front
and back finger tips, closed its eyes, lifted up the back part of its
body above ground at which time we observed the aposematic
coloration on the ventral part of its body (Fig. 1A, B). It remained
in this position for two minutes and after that it returned to its
normal position.
We observed three of the basic antipredator behaviors typical
of salamandrids: defensive posture, immobility, and presentation
of ventral aposematic coloration (Brodie et al. 1974, op. cit.; Brodie
1977, op. cit.; Grillitsch 1983. Salamandra 20:61–63; Marco and
Leguía 2001. Rev. Esp. Herpetol. 15:5–11). By exposing brightly
colored parts of the body, individuals warn (or possibly confuse,
Fig. 1. Thamnophis sirtalis swallowing Plethodon chattahoochee,
showing debris stuck to the face of the snake.
Herpetological Review 45(2), 2014
see Batesian mimicry) their potential predators about noxious
or toxic skin secretions, which is well known in many species of
amphibians (cf. Brodie et al. 1974, op. cit.; Brodie 1977, op. cit.;
Toledo et al. 2011, op. cit.). In addition, by coiling in an immobile
position, the salamander probably hampers recognition as prey
by a snake, bird, or mammal predator.
DANIEL JABLONSKI, Department of Zoology, Comenius University in
Bratislava, Mlynská dolina B-1, 842 15, Bratislava, Slovakia (e-mail: daniel.; PETR BALEJ, Zdeňka Bára 114/4, 700 30 Ostrava,
Czech Republic.
ability to predators is a well-documented defense mechanism
found in several families of amphibians (Peterson and Blaustein
1990. Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 3:63–72). However, there is some debate
over whether larval amphibians benefit from chemical defenses.
A review of the palatability of amphibian larvae revealed they
were consumed by predators in 89% of experimental trials.
Furthermore, even though bufonid larvae are often considered
unpalatable, they were consumed at similar rates as all other
species (Gunzburger and Travis 2005. J. Herpetol. 39:547–571).
Nonetheless, bufonid eggs and hatchlings may be less palatable
than older larval stages (Brodie and Formanowicz 1987. Herpe-
tologica 43:369–373).
Anaxyrus boreas is an example of a species that uses
chemical defenses against predators (Peterson and Blaustein
1990, op. cit.). On 23 May 2013, we observed a congregation of
nine adult Barred Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium)
consuming recently-hatched boreal toad larvae (Gosner stage
20–23) at a constructed wetland near Moran, Wyoming, USA
(43.832443°N, 110.35512°W, datum: WGS 84). After capturing
three salamanders (all males) for a mark-recapture study we
observed that their stomachs were noticeably engorged. The
salamanders were anesthetized with MS-222 prior to PIT-tagging.
As the salamanders were recuperating, but still unconscious, we
observed tadpoles swimming out of their mouths. We monitored
the salamanders for another hour after they awakened but no
other tadpoles emerged. All tadpoles appeared un-masticated
with no visible injury.
Previous accounts have suggested larval tiger salamanders
might prey upon A. boreas tadpoles (Dodd 2013. Frogs of
the United States and Canada, Volume 1. The Johns Hopkins
University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 460 pp.), which our
observations now verify. Perhaps because the salamanders are
suction feeders that engulf, rather than chew their prey, they
were less affected by toxins that may have been present in the
hatchlings (Pearl and Hayes 2002. Am. Midl. Nat. 147:145–152).
We thank A. Sepulveda for comments that improved the
manuscript. This manuscript is Amphibian Research and Moni-
toring Initiative (ARMI) product no. 467.
DANIELS (e-mail:, Northern Rockies Conservation
Cooperative, 185 North Center Street, Suite D, Jackson, Wyoming 83001,
USA; BLAKE R. HOSSACK (e-mail:, U.S. Geolog-
ical Survey, 790 East Beckwith Avenue, Missoula, Montana 59801, USA; and
ERIN MUTHS (e-mail:, U.S. Geological Survey, 2150
Centre Avenue Bldg C, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA
BUFO BUFO (Common Toad). PREDATION. On 22 March 2012,
during an amphibian survey in Cuenca province, in eastern
Spain (40.02250°N, 1.98288°W, datum: WGS84), an Ardea cinerea
(Grey Heron) was found trying to swallow a large, female Bufo
bufo. The heron flew to the top of a nearby tree. The heron had
pierced the body cavity of the toad with its beak, revealing egg
strings dangling from the injury. After a few minutes the heron
came back to the pond, and continued trying to clean the toad
in the water. Handling of the prey continued for more than ten
minutes, and later the heron fled away from the pond with the
toad in its beak. Throughout the predation event the toad ap-
peared motionless and we assumed it was dead. We are uncer-
tain whether the heron eventually consumed the toad. Taking
into account that the observation was coincident with the breed-
ing season of A. cinerea in Spain, it is possible that the toad could
be transported to the nest to feed the fledglings.
Ardea cinerea is opportunistic predator; its diet consists
mainly of fish, but it can prey on amphibians, reptiles, birds,
and even mammals (Kushlan and Hancock 2005. The Herons.
Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K. 433 pp.). Usually its prey
is swallowed without handling. But during this observation we
witnessed a long period of handling of the prey by the heron. This
was probably due to the presence of parotid glands, and also due
to the presence of eggs protruding from the female toad, which
are also unpalatable and toxic (Litch 1968. Herpetologica 24:93–
98). B. bufo is usually discarded by predators due to its toxicity.
Fig. 1. Triturus ivanbureschi in defensive posture. A) lateral view. B)
dorsal view.
... При ознакомлении с фотоматериалами , приведёнными рядом авторов (Боркин, Литвинчук, 2009, вклейка, рис. 21; Jablonski, Balej, 2014 , . 303, ig. 1, B), складывается впечатление , что у балкано-малоазиатских представителей комплекса светлая полоса вдоль хребта выражена значительно лучше, чем у крым- ских s. str. ...
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The intrapopulation variability of 20 morphometric characteristics and 26 indices of the body proportions of Karelin’s newt Triturus karelinii (Strauch, 1870) in the Burchu-Gol’ Lake (the Crimea, Chatyrdagh massif, 870 m a. s. l.) was estimated by employing standard statistical methods and discriminant analysis. The studied specimens demonstrated absolute discrimination into two groups, males and females, respectively. The most correlated parameters by which sexual dimorphism manifested itself to the greatest extent could be used to study the variability of other Karelin’s newt populations to develop differential diagnostics of closely related species of the T. karelinii complex inhabiting the Balkans and Anatolia. The body-to-tail length ratio of mature males, females and yearlings was analyzed; linear regression equations were obtained for these parameters. By applying an approach for analyzing allometric growth cases it has been revealed that the newt’s tail grows proportionally in respect to the body regardless its age and gender. A study of the body coloration and pattern helped us to establish gender-specific characteristics which were not always discrete. So, they are supposed to be auxiliary for T. karelinii sex identification. Color variations specific for this particular local population and unique for the Crimea in the whole were revealed. Their appearance is probably due to the long-term independent evolution of T. karelinii in the Peninsula.
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