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Abstract

A three-year field investigation was initiated in 1996 to update previous information on the local abundance and distribution of three salamanders of the genus Plethodon (P. caddoensis, P.fourchensis, and P. ouachitae); these salamanders are found within a five-county area of the Ouachita National Forest in southwestern Arkansas. Plethodon fourchensis was most numerous at three sites in Polk County; a total of 18 specimens was found. Searching for Plethodon fourchensis was successful following moderate-to-heavy precipitation but only in selected habitats on Fourche and Irons Forks mountains. The preferred habitats of P. caddoensis were talus-covered slopes and wet ravines consisting of mostly small loose rocks within the Caddo Mountains. This species was found at 17 of 25 collection sites (n =108); the largest single collection (n =52) occurred on 19 April 1998. Rocky habitats with an abundance of leaf litter on Rich Mountain yielded Plethodon ouachitae in modest numbers (n =45); three new locality sites were found during this study. Although new localities were discovered for each species during this study, none occurred outside its currently recognized range. Current forest management/landscape practices should strive to prevent any precipitous declines in populations of these salamanders.

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