Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) ecology and management in Waterton Lakes National Park

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Evidence of the long-toed salamander, Ambystoma macrodactylum, was obtained at nine of thirteen study sites within Waterton Lakes National Park, located in the southwest corner of Alberta. Distribution was scattered throughout the park at elevations ranging from 1280 to 1930 metres. Breeding activity of salamanders in the park occurs from early April to late June, depending on location. Development of salamander larvae in lakes or ponds is usually completed in one season (ie. during one summer); however, the occurrence of two-season development was indicated at Summit Lake (elev. 1930 m). Surrounding terrestrial habitat varied from aspen parkland to subalpine coniferous forest. Using the Schumacher-Eschmeyer estimator, the size of the Linnet Lake adult salamander population based on 1994 field work was estimated at between 3,274 and 4,690 adults (95% confidence interval). During the breeding period in April and May, greater numbers of salamanders migrated on nights when there was surf ace moisture or rainfall, particularly after short dry periods. An unusual 3: 1 (464 females: 155 males) sex ratio was obtained. Females spent an average of 19 days near and at Linnet Lake during breeding activity; males spent an average of 27 days. Several management issues were identified. Included are roadway mortality of salamanders at Linnet Lake, the need for a water quality monitoring program, and potential contamination of breeding sites due to roadsalt and acidification. Measurements indicated that pH values of the aquatic habitat have decreased substantially within the past twenty-five years. The global problem of acid precipitation may be a contributing factor.
Bibliography: p. 92-98.
Fukumoto, J. M. (1995). Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) ecology and management in Waterton Lakes National Park (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/15203