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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2003 Feb 1;130(2):165-71.

Corticosterone concentrations in free-living spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).

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Department of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.


A non-lethal technique for drawing repeated blood samples from spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) was used to examine sex, seasonal, and capture technique differences in the physiological stress response under natural, undisturbed conditions. Baseline and stress-induced (30 min of handling and restraint) corticosterone (CORT) concentrations were measured at night during the spring migrations into and out of the breeding pond, as well as during the fall migration to over-wintering sites. Females had significantly higher CORT concentrations than males during the spring migration toward the breeding pond, but this difference was not present when animals emerged from the pond post-breeding or during the fall migration. CORT concentrations did not vary seasonally, but during the acute stress response, CORT concentrations nearly doubled during the spring inbound migration, exhibited a nearly significant increase during the spring outbound migration, and did not change in the fall. Allowing animals to sit overnight in the buckets in which they were captured elicited CORT concentrations that tended to be higher (although not statistically significant) than when animals were sampled on the night of capture. The ability to sample blood from spotted salamanders using a non-lethal technique offers an opportunity to better understand both amphibian physiology and ecology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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