Meeting Abstract

P1.193  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Male green salamanders, Aneides aeneus, may help defend some nest sites CUPP, JR., P. V.; Eastern Kentucky University

During an ongoing study of brooding behavior in female green salamanders, Aneides aeneus, six males (n=6)were found in crevices adjacent to brooding crevices or nest sites. The same males were in these crevices in subsequent visits, suggesting the possibility of being the paternal males. Outside the brooding period, these males were sometimes found in breeding crevices. Males were usually found near just one nest site. However, in one rock crevice subdivided into smaller crevices. the fortuitous arrangement of crevices allowed the male to occupy a posterior crevice just behind and between two narrow crevices where two females brooded eggs. This male was often present and apparently in position to aid in defense of both nest sites. Over a seven-year period, this male was present and young were usually produced successfully in both nest sites each year. In one year, another nest site was located close to the male. Thus, this male controlled three nest sites that resulted in about 60 hatchlings. In another instance, a male identified by the pattern of spots on the head was found in a crevice adjacent to a brooding female. Over a 10-year period, this same male was found in either an adjacent crevice or the breeding crevice. During this time, females successfully brooded eggs in the breeding crevice each year. Although only females may be seen brooding eggs in many crevices, these observations suggest that male A. aeneus may have a role in defense of some nest sites. Because male A. aeneus arrive at breeding crevices in late spring prior to females and are aggressive in maintaining territories where pairing and mating may occur, they have a considerable investment to protect. This is the first evidence of males associated with and possibly protecting nest sites for this species and possibly for the family Plethodontidae.