Biology | Chemistry
We describe reproduction in West Virginia populations of the southern two-lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) and provide insights into the behavioral ecology of this wide-ranging urodele. The first signs of reproduction are evident well before the arrival of Spring. Sexually mature adults inhabit the cold, rocky streams of southwestern West Virginia in early February. Females arc known by the presence of large oocytes visible through the body wall and males by their extremely swollen heads. Breeding occurs in the stream during late March and is marked by the presence of gravid females with sperm caps in their posterior cloacae. Eggs are deposited from mid-March through early April on the underside of flat rocks in cool, shallow, and swiftly flowing streams. Females guard their nests against potential predators, including other two-lined salamanders. Hatchlings emerge as miniature adults with gills after several months of development.