Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 30 Number 2: 19-24 - April 1968

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Cave-Associated Herpetozoa II: Salamanders of the Genus Gyrinophilus in Alabama Caves
John E. Cooper and Martha R. Cooper


Both Gyrinophilus porphyriticus and G. palleucus are found in the caves of Alabama, but occupy mutually exclusive ranges. G. porphyriticus is found north of the Fall Line Hills but is not known from within the range of palleucus, which is largely restricted to the Cumberland Plateau in Jackson County north of the Tennessee River. A single specium of the latter species from a cave in Colbert County represents a 110 mile westward range extension for the species. This is the only known record from the Highland Rim and from south of the Tennessee River in Alabama. The aquatic cave communities containing palleucus differ markedly in species composition from those containing porphyriticus. The larvae of porphyriticus which feed in captivity have been seen to respond immediately and voraciously to mechanical stimuli and can become sight-conditioned to the presence of observers. A single porphyriticus adult responded to sight stimulus in feeding, but a single palleucus refused to feed and displayed an average heart-beat rate 27-28% lower than that of comparable-sized porphyriticus larvae from caves, kept and tested under identical conditions.

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