Defensive behavior of brooding female red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)

TitleDefensive behavior of brooding female red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1984
AuthorsBachmann MDorothy Da
JournalHerpetologica
Volume40
Issue4
Pagination436-443
KeywordsSALAMANDERS
Abstract

Quantitative information is presented on defensive behavior of brooding female Plethodon cinereus. Responses of females to brooding and non-brooding conspecifics and snakes were observed in the laboratory. Aggressive defense was exhibited by 91% of attendants and 5% of intruders in encounters between brooding females. Attendants were equally aggressive in encounters with non-brooding intruders (85% for adults and juveniles) and less with hatchlings (44%) none of which showed aggressive behavior. Responses of attendants to intrusion indicate that they may be defending the nest cavity as well as the eggs and therefore are exhibiting both territorial behavior and parental care.