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Does intraspecific and intersexual attraction or avoidance influence newt abundance estimates based on fish funnel trap records?

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We experimentally investigated whether intraspecific and intersexual attraction (or avoidance) by chemical signals may bias newt trapping success. We installed commercially available fish funnel traps which are often used in newt monitoring studies. We tested if capture rates differed between traps with or without newts. One experimental trap set comprised five traps, one trap being empty and four traps containing one male or female Lissotriton vulgaris or Ichthyosaura alpestris, respectively. Capture rates of newts of neither species nor sex was significantly affected by the presence of a particular newt species or sex in the traps, compared to control traps without newts. Trapping success thus seems not to be biased beyond random effects.

Affiliations: 1: 1Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany; 2: 2Büro für Faunistik und Umweltbildung, Martin-Luther-Str. 4, 97437 Hassfurt, Germany


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