In many species of amphibians that display territoriality, it is unclear at what life stage and to what extent dispersal occurs. We examined whether differences existed between life stages in dispersal and homing in red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) in continuous habitat. In a mark–recapture study, we found that juvenile and adult movements between years were not significantly different. The median distances moved by both adults (0.85–0.88 m) and juveniles (1.14–1.22 m) of P. cinereus between years were similar to the diameter of adult home ranges in this area (1.15 m). In a homing experiment, we found that, although the probability of recapture of translocated individuals under their original cover object increased with body size, both adults and juveniles successfully orientated toward their original cover objects when displaced over short distances (1.5 m and 6.25 m), but their orientation was random when displaced long distances (12.5 m and 25 m). Despite the current assumption that juveniles of P. cinereus lack territorial behaviors, our results suggest that regardless of life stage, site tenacity accounts for lack of movements.
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Vol. 66 • No. 3