Desmognathus quadramaculatus and D. folkertsi are cryptic salamander species that occur sympatrically across the entire range of the latter species. However, the larval form of D. folkertsi has never been formally described, and studies of salamander larval communities within its range require the ability to distinguish it from its cryptic relative. We conducted morphometric analyses in order to compare the larval forms of these two species living in allopatry and searched for characters that may be useful in distinguishing them in the field. Larvae of D. quadramaculatus had a larger average body size than D. folkertsi, and larger specimens of the former species had redder tail fins. MANCOVA indicated significant differences in a suite of 22 morphological characters between the two species. Additional principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant function analysis (DFA) indicated strong separation of factor and discriminant scores, respectively. Besides body size and tail-fin color, the best potential field character appears to be the forelimb length (FLL)/snout-vent length (SVL) ratio with larvae of D. quadramaculatus having a ratio above 0.2 and those of D. folkertsi having a lower ratio. However, these differences need to be confirmed in sympatry before they can be completely relied upon as useful field characters.
Tricaine (MS-222) is a safe anesthetic compound compared to benzocaine and pentobarbital to induce anesthesia in leopard frogs (Rana pipiens).
Ecological interactions between two broadly sympatric, cryptic species of dusky salamander (genus Desmognathus).
Biochemical evolution in the slimy salamanders of the Plethodon glutinosus complex in the eastern United States. Part I. Geographic protein variation.
Illinois Biological Monographs57:
Molecular phylogenetic analysis of slender salamander, genus Batrachoseps (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from central coastal California with descriptions of four new species.
Morphological homoplasy, life history evolution, and historical biogeography of plethodontid salamanders inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences101:
A new species of Desmognathus ochrophaeus complex (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology University of Michigan695:
Systematics of dusky salamanders, Desmognathus (Caudata: Plethodontidae), in the mountain and Piedmont regions of Virginia and North Carolina, USA.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society152:
Desmognathus quadramaculatus (Holbrook, 1840): Black-bellied Salamander. In:
Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species p.
LannooM. Ed. University of California PressBerkeley, California, USA.
Genetic diversity in a narrowly endemic, recently described dusky salamander, Desmognathus folkertsi, from the southern Appalachian Mountains.