The Blue-spotted/Jefferson Salamander complex comprises the 2 diploid parental species and triploid/tetraploid salamanders with genetic contributions from both parentals. The Jefferson Salamander is a state-threatened species, whereas the polyploid Silvery Salamander is state-endangered. Both “species” breed in small ephemeral/fishless wetlands in east-central Illinois.
We are collecting demographic data on abundance, reproduction, growth, and survival to aid conservation planning for the 3 species. One of the Silvery Salamander populations has been found to have a high level of tetraploid individuals, so we are also using genetic analysis to determine the level of hybridization occurring in the population.
Our data will also help determine salamander land use phenology, enabling land managers to mitigate risk due to management activities.