The ability to home, or to navigate back to a home range after displacement, may offer advantages at both the individual and population levels. Returning to familiar territory may decrease the vulnerability of an individual to predation or food scarcity after displacement, and balance and stabilize population distribution across the landscape. The purpose of this study was to test whether the Northern Spring Salamander, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus, exhibits homing behavior when displaced upstream and to examine whether this behavior is stage-specific. We conducted an experiment along a first-order stream in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA. We tagged 60 salamanders (30 adults and 30 larvae) and assigned them to one of three treatments: 0 m, 10 m, and 30 m displacement. We conducted 10 recapture surveys during a one month period, resulting in a total recapture rate of 33%. Of nine displaced and recaptured adult salamanders, six had homed and three had moved toward home. A chi-square analysis showed significant differences among the number of recaptured adults that had homed across the three treatments. Our results suggest that adult G. porphyriticus has the ability to return home after displacement, but the stage-specificity of this behavior is still unclear because of low larval recapture rates. The homing ability of G. porphyriticus may become increasingly important as changes in climate lead to more unpredictable weather events (e.g. flooding) in the northeastern United States.
|Number of pages
|Herpetological Conservation and Biology
|Published - Jun 1 2015
- Life stages
- Movement behavior