Larval Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea wilderae) are significant components of Appalachian streams, reaching densities up to 100/m2. Not surprisingly, these salamanders fall prey to many types of predator. In order to test the hypothesis that larval E. wilderae actively avoid predators, we paired them against a variety of predators of this species. Predators included Banded Sculpins (Cottus carolinae), Chattahoochee Crayfish (Cambarus howardi), and Spring Salamanders (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus), both adult and larval. We placed larvae in a 1-m metal trough filled with water with a predator placed in a cage at one end. A control treatment consisted of an empty cage. For each trial, we placed a larval E. wilderae. After the larva stopped in one place for 10 min, we measured the distance between the larva and the cage. We ran 18‒20 replicates for each of the five treatments. A Kruskal-Wallis test showed no significant difference between any of the treatments in mean distance. Disagreement between our results and those of other workers suggests the possibility of interspecific or interpopulation variation in anti-predator behavior. In addition, because of their high densities and wide variety of predators, larval E. wilderae may not suffer sufficient predatory pressure from a particular species of predator to evolve appropriate behavioral responses.


We thank MK Pepper Delgadillo for help in collecting specimens. This research was completed by TH and EL in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Natural Sciences Honors Program at Piedmont University.