It is difficult to determine how long salamanders live in the wild. The maximum age estimates using skeletochronology tend to be lower than estimates based on recaptures and size-frequency studies. This discrepancy between techniques suggests it may well be difficult to discern the lines of arrested growth in bones when salamanders are old and their growth rate very low. I review techniques used to estimate longevity, compare age estimates from field (recapture and size frequency comparisons) studies with those from skeletochronology, review growth models, and suggest future work that specifically addresses salamander longevity. Based on observations from captive animals, plethodontids can live a long time (e.g., 36 years). A better understanding of natural longevity is important for understanding the actual age structure of populations and for conservation efforts.
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