It has long been accepted that amphibians can skip breeding in any given year, and environmental conditions act as a cue for breeding. In this paper, we quantify temporary emigration or nonbreeding probability for mole and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum and A. maculatum). We estimated that 70% of mole salamanders may skip breeding during an average rainfall year and 90% may skip during a drought year. Spotted salamanders may be more likely to breed, with only 17% avoiding the breeding pond during an average rainfall year. We illustrate how superpopulations can be estimated using temporary emigration probability estimates. The superpopulation is the total number of salamanders associated with a given breeding pond. Although most salamanders stay within a certain distance of a breeding pond for the majority of their life spans, it is difficult to determine true overall population sizes for a given site if animals are only captured during a brief time frame each year with some animals unavailable for capture at any time during a given year.
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Vol. 63 • No. 2