Pond-breeding Salamander Monitoring
Introduction & Overview

The state of Ohio is home to 25 species of salamanders. Of these, 8 species are dependent upon standing water (lentic) habitats for breeding, egg-laying, and development of the aquatic larvae. Standing water habitats in Ohio that may be utilized by salamanders include depressional wetlands, vernal (ephemeral) pools, bogs, swamp forests, oxbows, ponds, lakes, and wet prairies. One species, the Eastern Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus v. viridescens) also uses these aquatic habitats for a large portion of its adult life.

This guide has been developed to create a standardized protocol for the surveying and monitoring of salamander species in Ohio that utilize standing water for breeding and larval development. It has been modeled after an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency program for assessing wetlands (Micacchion 2002). The protocol includes the capture of adult salamanders and their larvae in screen funnel traps placed into the bodies of water being sampled. The traps are placed for 24-hour periods on three different occasions throughout the year. Additional qualitative sampling using a dip-net is also employed mainly to survey for the larvae of the Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum), a species for which funnel-trapping appears to be ineffective. Captured salamander larvae are assigned to a “morpho-species,” and a voucher of each type is preserved and sent to the survey coordinator for identification and to be cataloged into a museum collection.

Target Species

The pond-breeding salamander protocol is designed to monitor the following Ohio salamander species:

  1. Jefferson Salamander, Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  2. Blue-spotted Salamander, Ambystoma laterale
  3. Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum
  4. Marbled Salamander, Ambystoma opacum
  5. Eastern Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum
  6. Small-mouth Salamander, Ambystoma texanum
  7. Eastern Red-spotted Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens
  8. Four-toed Salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum

Next page: Equipment & supplies list