Gastric Lavage as a Non-lethal Technique to Examine the Fall Diet of Cave Salamanders (Eurycea lucifuga) (Rafinesque, 1822) in Northwest Georgia, USA

Jacob Matthew Hutton

Abstract


Abstract. Examining the seasonal diet of species is important for understanding potential shifts in prey availability and consumption. We non-lethally obtained stomach contents of adult Eurycea lucifuga (Rafinesque, 1822) (Cave Salamander), during the fall from caves located in Northwest Georgia, USA. We found prey types from 5 invertebrate orders and were able to identify 6 prey to the level of family. Prey items belonged to the orders Diptera, Coleoptera, Araneae, Opiliones, and Acari. Adult dipterans comprised more than half of all prey items and larval coleopterans made up nearly 15%. Approximately 42% of the salamanders did not have any prey items in their stomachs. Knowledge on the year-round diets of troglophilic salamanders may better help us understand seasonal variation in prey acquisition and guide future habitat management practices in these systems.


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