Meeting Abstract

P2.184  Thursday, Jan. 5  Jumping kinematics in the Plethodontidae I: performance, morphology, and scaling WHITENACK, Lisa B.*; HESSEL, Anthony L.; RYERSON, William; Allegheny College; Allegheny College; University of Connecticut

Plethondontid salamanders are capable of a variety of defenses, including apoesomatic coloring, autotomizing limbs and tails, toxin secretion, and escape. To date, jumping as an escape mechanism has only been studied in Desmognathus ocoee. For this study, we examined five additional plethodontid species (D. fuscus, D. ochrophaeus, Eurycea bislineata, Plethodon glutinosus, and P. cinereus) to determine if other plethodontids are capable of this behavior and to explore the link between jump performance and morphology. Salamanders were filmed at 500 fps jumping over a 5 cm gap, with five trials per individual. Variables measured include bending angles, durations, and velocities, as well as jump height. Preliminary results indicate that all species studied exhibit the stereotypical C-start escape-type jump, as seen in D. ocoee. When all species are considered together, loading time and maximum jump height are correlated with size and mass. When considered individually, few correlations occur. For example, mass and size are only correlated with maximum height and unloading velocity for P. glutinosus, but tail length is correlated with loading time for D. fuscus and total length with unloading time for D. ochrophaeus. The ratio of tail length to SVL is not correlated with any kinematic variable, and E. bislineata and P. cinerus exhibited no correlations. It is possible that the larger overall size and mass of P. glutinosus is beyond a threshold where size matters that the other smaller species do not cross.