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Courtship behaviour of the salamander Desmognathus imitator (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae)

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Courtship in the imitator salamander, Desmognathus imitator, follows a predictable course that appears characteristic for the genus. Three more-or-less consecutive phases are recognized: orientation of the male to the female, persuasion of the female by the male (involving both tactile and chemical stimuli) and indirect sperm transfer by means of a spermatophore. The individual behaviour patterns that comprise courtship in D. imitator are similar to those observed for congeneric species of similar body size, except for "bite-and-seize", which has previously been described only in two dwarf species. Understanding the evolution of courtship in the genus Desmognathus will be greatly facilitated when behavioural characters in all taxa can be optimized onto an independent phylogenetic tree.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, USA


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