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CAPTURE EFFICIENCY, POPULATION DYNAMICS, AND HABITAT USE OF MUDPUPPIES (NECTURUS MACULOSUS) IN A DISTURBED URBAN LAKE

Common mudpuppy salamanders (Necturus maculosus) are broadly distributed across east-central North America, yet their seasonal behavior, population dynamics, and general physiology are poorly studied. Capture efficiency data are also lacking. Mudpuppies were once abundant throughout the Great Lakes region but were listed as threatened in the state of Illinois in 2010, possibly due to habitat loss, introduced species, overexploitation, or inadequate sampling efforts. We developed a novel trapping technique for use in open water habitats. We used this approach to study a population in a highly disturbed urban environment at Wolf Lake, Chicago. Mudpuppies captured in minnow traps were larger (mean= 24.4 +/- 1.3 cm) than those caught in hand nets (mean= 15.2 +/- 0.74 cm). Larger mudpuppies were also found farther from shore (p=0.0039) and at greater depths (p<0.0001). This is indicative of capture or habitat use biases among size classes. Our results are part of an ongoing study that began in 2015. Continuation of this research will aid in conservation efforts and management of this understudied and vulnerable species throughout the Great Lakes region.

Jared Bilak (Primary Presenter/Author), Southern Illinois University, bilak@siu.edu;


Matt Whiles ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern Illinois University, mwhiles@zoology.siu.edu;


Robin Warne ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern Illinois University, rwarne@siu.edu;


Philip Willink ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Shedd Aquarium , pwillink@sheddaquarium.org;


Alicia Beattie ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc., abeattie@crwp.org;