The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 36 Number 4: 7-10 - October 1974

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Food of the Salamanders Eurycea lucifuga and Plethodon glutinosus in Caves
Stewart B. Peck


The contents of the entire digestive tracts were examined in 112 adult Eurycea lucifuga and 108 adult Plethodon glutinosus salamanders. All specimens were collected in caves. Compared to P. glutinosus, E. lucifuga was found to have eaten (1) more food items per individual, (2) a greater variety of food types, (3) generally larger types of food items, and (4) more food items from deeper in the cave. The salamanders are opportunistic feeders, but the primary foods of E. lucifuga were Mycetophilid and Heleomyzid flies and the primary foods of P. glutinosus were ants and mosquitoes. Consequently, it seems that these two salamanders can avoid direct food competition when they occur in the same caves Laboratory studies showed that it takes about six days for food items to pass through the entire digestive tract of E. lucifuga. Thus, each dissected digestive tract recorded the feeding of the salamander for the six days before capture.

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