Major in Biology

Kenny, Tammy, Sharon Wise, and Bryant Buchanan. 2004.

Sound production and social interactions in the red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus.

Tammy Kenny presents at a research conference.

Sound production has been documented in salamanders, but the function of these sounds is unknown. The sound produced by the red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus, is a low intensity “click”. We investigated the relationship between sound production and social interaction in P. cinereus by testing the hypothesis that clicking may be associated with visual or chemical signals from other salamanders during social interactions. We tested this hypothesis using residents (salamanders that had established territories in laboratory test chambers) and intruders (salamanders that were introduced into the test chambers of residents or into empty test chambers) under the following test conditions: (1) a resident tested alone in a small test chamber, (2) an intruder tested alone (placed into a small empty test chamber), (3) a resident tested with an intruder in a small test chamber, (4) two intruders tested together (both placed into a large, blank test chamber twice the size of the small chambers), and (5) a resident and intruder tested together in a large test chamber. We also predicted that salamanders would click more often in the presence of other salamanders than when alone if clicking is associated with social interactions. indicating that the sound production by salamanders may be associated with intraspecific social interactions.


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