Oviposition timing, behaviors, and microhabitats of ambystomatid salamanders vary considerably (Egan and Paton 2004; Figiel and Semlitsch 1995; Howard and Wallace 1985; Mac-Cracken 2007). Regardless of species, however, females typically oviposit using sites conducive to embryo development and survival. For example, the results of an experiment by Figiel and Semlitsch (1995) on Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander) oviposition indicated that females actively selected sites that were under grass clumps in wet versus dry treatments, and surmised that environmental conditions such as humidity, moisture, and temperature contributed to their results. Other factors associated with ambystomatid oviposition and embryo survival include water temperature (Anderson 1972; Brown 1976), dissolved oxygen concentration (Petranka et al. 1982; Sacerdote and King 2009), oviposition depth (Dougherty et al. 2005; Egan and Paton 2004), and oviposition attachment structures such as woody vegetation (McCracken 2007; Nussbaum et al. 1983). Resetarits (1996), in creating a model of oviposition site selection for anuran amphibians, hypothesized that oviparous organisms were also capable of modifying oviposition behavior and site selection to accommodate varying habitat conditions and to minimize potential negative effects of environmental stressors. Kats and Sih (1992), investigating the oviposition of Ambystoma barbouri (Streamside Salamander) in pools of a Kentucky stream, found that females preferred pools without predatory Lepomis cyanellus (Green Sunfish), and that the number of egg masses present in a pool historically containing fish increased significantly the year after fish had been extirpated from the pool. Palen et al. (2005) determined that Ambystoma gracile (Northwestern Salamander) and Ambystoma macrodactylum (Longtoed Salamander) eggs were deposited either at increased depth or in full shaded habitats, respectively, as water transperancy to UV-B radiation increased.
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Northwestern salamanders Ambystoma gracile in mountain lakes: record oviposition depths among salamanders