Age Study of Red Efts (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) from a Cannon County, Tennessee Metapopulation

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Parker, Herschell
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Middle Tennessee State University
Many populations of Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens have aquatic larvae that metamorphose into a sexually immature Red Efts that leave the water and are land-dwelling for up to seven years. In 2007 and 2008, fifty-six Red Efts were collected as road kill on Burt-Bergen Road, near the Bradyville Hill Road intersection (latitude, longitude coordinates: 35.795048, - 86.150466) in Cannon County, Tennessee. Snout-vent length of each specimen was measured. The right femur was removed from each specimen and the length of some femurs was measured. All 56 specimens were prepared for skeletochronological analysis; however, femur cross-sections from only 28 specimens were useable. Skeletochronological analysis indicated the most frequent age for this sample of Red Efts was three years; age estimates ranged from two to seven years, and mean age was 3.5 years. Age estimates yielded from this skeletochronology study are consistent with the findings of previous skeletochronology studies of Red Efts. This is the lowest latitude Red Eft sample to date in which skeletochronological age estimates are reported. Pearson product-moment correlations were computed for the following pairs of variables: age and snout-vent length, age and femur length, and snout-vent length and femur length. The resulting correlation coefficients were not significant; however, method of collection (road kill) and precision of measurement (to the nearest millimeter) are believed to account for the lack of significance. Red Eft age and snout-vent length were found to be significantly correlated in previous skeletochronology studies.
Red eft, Skeletochronology, Tennessee