FORTY-YEARS OF FIELD NOTES THE CHEAT MOUNTAIN SALAMANDER (PLETHODON NETTINGI)
Keywords:Plethodon, salamanders, habitat, interactions
In the following pages, I describe 40 years of field observations on the Cheat Mountain Salamander (Plethodon nettingi), a federally threatened species. This is not a research paper in that I do not attempt to analyze data, but rather it is a means to share information I have collected during my time in the field with this species. Cheat Mountain Salamanders are found in just five counties in the high elevations of the Allegheny Mountains in eastern West Virginia. I have searched over 1,300 sites in these five counties and determined that its range extends from Blackwater River Canyon (Tucker County) in the north to Thorny Flat (Pocahontas County) in the south, a linear distance of about 92 km. Within this range, I observed over 2,000 Cheat Mountain Salamanders in 81 populations. Data collected in these 81 populations include habitat characteristics, elevational ranges, mountain aspects, cover objects, food items, sympatric species, syntopic events, phenology, reproduction, conservation issues, and status of populations. It is my hope that information presented herein will be useful to biologists who will be studying this species in future years.
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