Image Courtesy of Dr. Michael Dorcas  

Independent Study Project
Caitlin Westfall

Davidson College Herpetology Lab
Dept. of Biology
Davidson College
Davidson NC 28035-7118
cawestfall@davidson.edu

Image Courtesy of Dr. Michael Dorcas   Image Courtesy of Dr. Michael Dorcas


Image Courtesy of Kristen Cecala


Image Courtesy of Caitlin Westfall


Image Courtesy of Kristen Cecala

Mite Parasitism on Salamanders of the Western Piedmont of North Carolina
Caitlin Westfall

Due to their natural activities and habitats, some species of salamanders are particularly prone to skin parasitism. Foraging on the forest floor, or in and around streams, causes them to come into direct contact with a variety of larval parasites, including mites. Due to the variety of microhabitats they encounter, some salamanders have a tendency to harbor a larger portion of parasite species than other salamanders (Rankin 1937; Anthony 1994). For example, a common parasite seen on salamanders in the generas Eurycea, Desmognathus and Plethodon is Hannemania sp. (Anthony 1994; Regester 2001). We have recently we have observed this type skin parasitism on various salamanders in the Davidson area. 

To further study this type of parasitism, we will look to:

1) determine the abundance of parasites among three common salamander species (Eurycea, Desmognathus and Plethodon)
2) determine on what parts of salamanders’ body mite parasites are most concentrated
3) evaluate the relationship between salamander size and parasite abundance
4) determine how parasite abundance varies among seasons.

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Image Courtesy of Caitlin Westfall


Image Courtesy of Caitlin Westfall


Image Courtesy of Caitlin Westfall