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Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) hibernacula in Waterton Lakes National Park revealed using Passive Integrated Transponder telemetry

Matthew R. Atkinson-Adams, Christopher J. Price, Garry J. Scrimgeour, Cynthia A. Paszkowski


Long-toed Salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) spend most of their lives on land; however, their fossorial nature makes studying their use of habitat difficult. Using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) telemetry over two years, we found and characterized nine overwintering sites of Long-toed Salamanders in the vicinity of Linnet Lake and Stable Pond in Waterton Lakes National Park, excavating five of them. These sites were typically associated with stumps and decaying root systems that gave the salamanders access to deep subterranean hibernacula. Overwintering sites were located up to 168 m from the shores of breeding ponds. Given the importance of such terrestrial sites to these populations of Long-toed Salamanders, it is vital that conservation efforts include the preservation of these features and ensure that a sufficient area surrounding breeding ponds remains undisturbed.


Long-toed Salamander; Ambystoma macrodactylum; amphibian; terrestrial habitat; conservation; overwintering refugia; Waterton Lakes National Park; Alberta

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