Concern about recent amphibian declines has led to research on amphibian populations, but few statistically tested, standardized methods of counting amphibians exist. We tested whether counts of northern two-lined salamander larvae (Eurycea bislineata) sheltered in leaf litter bags--a relatively new, easily replicable survey technique--had a linear correlation to total number of larvae. Using experimental enclosures placed in streams, we compared number of salamanders found in artificial habitat (leaf litter bags) with total number of salamanders in each enclosure. Low numbers of the animals were found in leaf litter bags, and the relative amount of variation in the index (number of animals in leaf litter bags compared to total number of animals in stream enclosures) was high. The index of salamanders in leaf litter bags was not significantly related to total number of salamanders in enclosures for two-thirds of the replicates or with pooled replicates (P= 0.066). Consequently, we cannot recommend using leaf litter bags to index populations of northern two-lined salamanders.
Additional publication details
Leaf litter bags as an index to populations of northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata)