Diet of the southern ravine salamander Plethodon richmondi

Stacy J. Gadd, Jacob M. Hutton, Steven J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The diets of many small North American Plethodon species are poorly studied despite their important roles in forest ecosystems. Using a non-lethal gastric lavage method, we examined the spring-season diet of 31 southern ravine salamanders (Plethodon richmondi) from a second-growth forest in south-eastern Kentucky (USA). We recovered and identified a total of 452 prey items from 14 different prey groups. The three most important prey groups were Formicidae (ants), Acari (mites and ticks), and Collembola (springtails). Together, these groups accounted for more than 80 % of all prey items. Examining the diets of terrestrial salamanders may help us better understand their roles in the regulation of invertebrate communities and the transfer of accessible nutrients back to the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalHerpetological Bulletin
Issue number158
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the Kentucky Academy of Science, University of Kentucky Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, Eastern Kentucky University Division of Natural Areas, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders, the Society of Freshwater Science, and the McIntire-Stennis Research Program (accession number 1001968). The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky provided resources, facilities, and permission for use of Robinson Forest. Research was performed under the University of Kentucky Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol number 2012-1054 and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources permit number SC1711117.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 British Herpetological Society. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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