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Published in Catesbeiana, 21:69-74.


Worldwide, many amphibian populations have been declining and undergoing range reductions (Blaustein et aI., 1998; Houlahan et aI., 2000; Alford et aI., 200 1). Causes for the declines are often difficult to determine but fungal infections, habitat destruction, changes in local climate, pollution and increased ultraviolet (UY-B) radiation have been listed as potential causes (Blaustein and Wake, 1995; Houlahan et aI., 2000). Most studies for assessing effects of UV-B radiation on amphibians occurred in Australia, Europe or northwest United States (Blaustein et aI., 1998) and only one has been conducted in the eastern United States (Starnes et aI., 2000). Several of these studies have included ambystomatid salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum and A. gracile) and an adverse UV-B effect on embryonic survival has been demonstrated (Blaustein et aI., 1995, 1998). In contrast, Starnes et al. (2000) did not show a statistically significant UV-B effect on A. maculatum embryonic survival although decreased incidence of deformities was noted for embryos shielded from UV-B. Our goal was to determine if the results from Starnes et al. (2000) apply to A. maculatum populations in Virginia.