AmphibiaWeb provides information on amphibian declines, natural history, conservation, and taxonomy.

Species of the Week:
Plethodon metcalfi

Amphibian News
Identifying the effects of climate change on amphibians is important. Connette et al. (2015) warns that ecological factors or systemic bias may be causing apparent body size changes, which are attributed to climate change. In southwest North Carolina, they surveyed Plethodon metcalfi and measured the body size (SVL) and other parameters of encountered animals for two years, and conducted mark-recapture surveys of P. shermani for six years. They found that large adult P. metcalfi were disproportionately represented in samples collected shortly after rainfall and towards the middle of the summer active season. There was large annual variation in P. shermani in all age classes, with larger individuals more likely to be detected after rainfall. Connette et al. cautions that plethodontid salamanders may be particularly susceptible due to their fossorial nature and sensitivity to high temperatures and moisture, and this could easily lead to survey biases. Multi-year, multi-season surveys are needed for accurate measures of population and body size variation. It is possible that climate change has resulted in selection for smaller adult body size in recent decades, but other factors, such as weather conditions, yearly variation, and exposure during sampling, can also affect findings.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,402 (Mar 31, 2015) Newly added species