Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Matthew L. Niemiller

Committee Member

Zachary Culumber

Committee Member

Paul Wolf

Committee Member

Shannon Pittman


Northern slimy salamander, Amphibians--Food


The diet of the Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus), a facultative cave-dweller, was examined at two pairs of subterranean and terrestrial sites in northern Alabama as its diet has remained largely unstudied. I investigated if salamanders are feeding in the darkness of caves and indirectly looked at specialization by examining gut contents via non-lethal gavaging for a year. A total of 52 salamanders were gavaged with cave salamanders rarely having stomach contents. Moreover, cave specimens ingested fewer prey items and a less diverse prey base compared to surface specimens. Eighty-four unique prey items/taxa were recovered across all sites. In surface salamanders, the diet was dominated by flies, ants, beetles, and snails. Ants and beetles were dominate in the diet of cave specimens. This study provided important insights into the feeding ecology of this common woodland salamander, but it remains unclear whether it is an effective predator in cave habitats.



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