Spatial and behavioral interactions between a native and introduced salamander species
- Cite this article as:
- Rissler, L., Barber, A., Wilbur, H. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2000) 48: 61. doi:10.1007/s002650000207
Behavioral interactions with native species may influence the invasiveness of introduced species. The salamanders Plethodon glutinosus and P. jordani in the eastern United States share many life history traits and demonstrate complex interspecific interactions that range geographically from competitive exclusion to sympatry. P. jordani was introduced to Mountain Lake Biological Station, Virginia, USA, between the years 1935 and 1945. We tested whether competition for space may influence the invasion of P. jordani into native P. glutinosus habitat by utilizing data from natural distributions, a field experiment, and controlled laboratory experiments. No environmental variables differed where P. glutinosus and P. jordani were collected in the field at the site of P. jordani introduction. In the field experiment, P. glutinosus was more fully exposed during foraging bouts in cages shared with heterospecifics as opposed to ones shared with conspecific salamanders. Condition (mass relative to body length) of salamanders at the end of the 3 months did not differ between conspecific and heterospecific treatments. In the laboratory, P. glutinosus most often attained the single burrow in the arena, but residency status had no effect. Species cohabited the burrow 50% of the time. Pair-wise encounters in the laboratory indicated that both species spend less than 20% of the time in aggressive behaviors as juveniles. Adults showed no behavior interpreted by us as aggression during pair-wise encounters.