7. Characterization of the Habitat of Eastern Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Jessi Urichic Thomas More College, Michelle Russell Lincoln Memorial University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Chris Lorentz Thomas More College
Eastern Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) are the largest fully aquatic salamander in North America. This species has been dramatically declining from about 1985 and has recently been labeled as endangered. One major threat is the significant reduction in the amount of larvae and juveniles, which utilize the interstitial spaces between smaller sized gravel to hide from predators. The purpose of this study was to determine if hellbenders raised in captivity would prefer a habitat with or without a rocky surface to further explore the effects of streambed substrate on sites of occupancy. To test this three different sizes of rocks were added to the tank before a 48 hour observational study. Data was recorded during the observational period about their location, water temperature, food items in the tank, and the time. It was predicted that they would spend more time near the larger sized gravel over the small and medium sized medium. The results showed that they preferred to be in the area of the tank without rocks the most.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library 3rd Floor