Conservation genetics of the endangered Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah, Plethodontidae)

Animal Conservation
By: , and 



The Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) is restricted to three isolated talus outcrops in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA and has one of the smallest ranges of any tetrapod vertebrate. This species was listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act in 1989 over concern that direct competition with the red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus), successional habitat changes, and human impacts may cause its decline and possible extinction. We address two issues herein: (1) whether extensive introgression (through long-term hybridization) is present between the two species and threatens the survival of P. shenandoah, and (2) the level of population structure within P. shenandoah. We provide evidence from mtDNA haplotypes that shows no genetic differentiation among the three isolates of P. shenandoah, suggesting that their fragmentation is a geologically recent event, and/or that the isolates are still connected by occasional gene flow. There is also no evidence for extensive introgression of alleles in either direction between P. cinereus and P. shenandoah, which suggests that P. shenandoah may not be in danger of being genetically swamped out through hybridization with P. cinereus.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Conservation genetics of the endangered Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah, Plethodontidae)
Series title Animal Conservation
DOI 10.1017/S1367943001001147
Volume 4
Issue 2
Year Published 2001
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 111-119
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Animal Conservation
First page 111
Last page 119
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