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The Breeding Migrations and Interhabitat Wandering of the Vermilion‐Spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque)

Hurlbert, Stuart H.
Ecological monographs 1969 v.39 no.4 pp. 465-488
Ambystoma, Notophthalmus viridescens, adults, autumn, breeding, females, juveniles, longevity, males, ponds, rain, salamanders and newts, sex ratio, spring, stream channels, temperature, vegetation, winter, New York
The breeding migrations and wandering movements of Notophthalmus viridescens were monitored at several ponds in Dryden, Tompkins County, New York. Breeding migrations occurred in both the spring (April—May) and fall (August—October, November, or December) to all permanent ponds. The spring migrations involved both eft migrants and adult migrants, their relative numbers varying considerably from pond to pond. The fall migrations involved eft migrants almost exclusively. Eft migrants were maturing juveniles returning to the water for the first time; adult migrants were individuals which had bred before and subsequently spent some time, often an entire winter, on land. The sex ratio of eft migrants was 42 to 47% males, that of aquatic adults at least 55% males; male eft migrants had a greater future life expectancy than do female eft migrants. Male migrants arrived earlier in the spring, female migrants arrived earlier in the fall. Breeding migrants tended to use linear depressions (e.g. streambeds, slope junctions) as migration routes; their routes were conspicuously altered by seasonal changed in vegetation. About 57% of N. viridescens migrants, but only 3% of Ambystoma maculatum migrants, reached the ponds during the day; the remainder entered at night. Breeding migrations were more strongly correlated with rainfall and temperature in early spring than in late spring and in late fall than in early fall. For a brief period following their arrival at a pond migrants wandered back and forth between water and land, especially during rainy weather. Fully aquatic adults abandoned temporary ponds as or after these dried up. In July, August, and September some adults left permanent ponds, especially during rainy weather.