Herpetofaunal Drift-fence Survey of Steephead Ravines in 2 River Drainages

A drift-fence survey of the herpetofauna of steephead ravines was conducted over 216 trapping days from 6 June 1995 to 6 June 1996 along first- and second-order streams in the Ochlockonee River, Florida, drainage and along first-and third-order streams in the Apalachicola River, Florida, drainage. Six drift-fence arrays in Apalachicola ravines had 1,223 captures of 34 species, whereas 6 arrays in the Ochlockonee ravine had 2,283 captures of 31 species. In the Ochlockonee ravine, more anurans were captured along the second-order than the first-order stream. In Apalachicola ravines, more Apalachicola dusky salamanders (Desmognathus apalachicolae) and turtles were captured along the third-order stream, whereas more southeastern slimy salamanders (Plethodon grobmani) and broadhead skinks (Eumeces laticeps) were captured along first-order streams. Along first-order streams, significantly more lizards were captured in Apalachicola ravines, whereas more three-lined salamanders (Eurycea guttolineata), southern red salamanders (Pseudotriton ruber), and anurans were captured in the Ochlockonee ravine. Salamander captures in both river drainages were significantly correlated with precipitation, but because of small sample sizes due to infrequent captures during the cooler months, anuran captures were not correlated with precipitation. Recaptures made up 11.1 %-12.8% of anuran and salamander captures in both drainages, whereas reptile recapture rates differed among drainages, with lizards and turtles being recaptured more frequently than snakes. The unique biotic communities in steephead ravines would be severely impacted by land-use practices or recreational activities that resulted in canopy disturbance, erosional siltation, water pollution, or reduction in the quantity of ground water feeding the seeps and streams.

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