IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)


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Common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) are the largest threats to Plethodon salamanders. The first defense mechanism of Jordan’s salamanders is the bright red cheeks or legs possessed by some individuals. This aposematic coloration is a warning sign to predators. Snake predation upon Plethodon salamanders also elicits other behaviors, including writhing and thrashing movements that coat the predator with slimy secretions, tail autotomy (tail loss), and biting. Bennett and Licht (1974) suggested that the particular antipredator behaviors of amphibian species are correlated with the extent of anaerobiosis during a burst of activity. According to a study by Arnold and Feder (1982), predatory encounters are especially suitable for demonstration of anaerobiosis during spontaneous natural activity, if it does occur. In one trial conducted by Arnold and Feder (1982), a Jordan's salamander escaped the snake by producing thick secretions which actually glued the snake to the substrate (rendering it immobile). Predatory birds are also likely to be important predators of Jordan's salamanders, especially at higher elevations where there are fewer garter snakes.

Known Predators:

  • common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • predatory birds (Aves)

Anti-predator Adaptations: aposematic


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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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