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Olfactory recognition of terrestrial shelters in female Northern Spectacled Salamanders Salamandrina perspicillata (Caudata, Salamandridae)

Author(s): Antonio Romano | Antonio Ruggiero

Journal: Phyllomedusa : Journal of Herpetology
ISSN 1519-1397

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Caudata | Salamandridae | Salamandrina perspicillata | olfactory recognition | terrestrial shelters | Central Italy

Chemical cues are used as ubiquitous markers of individual, group, kinship, and species identity. Northern Spectacled Salamander (Salamandrina perspicillata) is a semi-terrestrial and elusive species. Females can be found in water bodies just in the spawning season but spend most of their life, as well as males do, in terrestrial shelters such as cracks, crevices and under stones to reduce the risks of dehydration. We have investigated whether, in reproductive females, animal’s own and conspecific chemical cues playa role in the shelter choice. We performed unforced “two-choice system” tests in order to study the behavioural response of salamanders to scent marks. For each test, the choice between two artificial shelters (plastic tubes) was offered to each focal individual. Data were analyzed using the binomial distribution. Our results show that Salamandrina use the sense of smell in the terrestrial shelter choice as animals (i) were capable to discriminate between a tube previously used by itself and a unused one (P

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