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Surveying for hellbender salamanders, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis (Daudin): A review and critique

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image of Applied Herpetology

Wereview the wide array of techniques and their variants used in studying a cryptobranchid salamander and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Electroshocking surveys are strongly discouraged because of the great potential for damaging reproductive success, immune systems, and their questionable effectiveness. Because successful Cryptobranchus alleganiensis nesting sites appear to be quite limited, the use of Peavy hooks and crowbars to breakup bedrock or dislodge large cover rocks should be restricted. Currently, skin-diving surveys coupled with turning objects is the only method shown to obtain all sizes of gilled larvae and multiple age groups of non-gilled and adult C. alleganiensis in brief periods.


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