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Substrate preference of eastern red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus: A comparison of deciduous and coniferous substrates

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Forest tree composition can affect the distribution and abundance of terrestrial salamanders. We examined the effect of leaf litter type (deciduous or coniferous) and soil type (deciduous and coniferous) on red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) substrate choice using a series of laboratory experiments. Salamanders preferred deciduous leaves over coniferous pine needles and the deciduous soil/deciduous leaf litter combination over all others. In addition, our results suggest that leaf litter type may be more important than soil type in influencing salamander substrate preference in our study. Our results suggest that behavioural avoidance may partially explain differences in P. cinereus abundances in deciduous and coniferous forest habitats.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Denison University, Granville, Ohio 43023, USA; 2: Department of Biology, Denison University, Granville, Ohio 43023, USA;, Email:


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