In the southeastern United States, coarse woody debris (CWD) typically harbors high densities of invertebrates. However, its importance as a foraging substrate for southeastern amphibians is relatively unknown. We examined effects of CWD manipulations on diet composition of southern toads (Bufo terrestris) in upland loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Twelve 9.3-ha plots were assigned one of the following treatments: removal- all CWD ≥10 cm in diameter and ≥60 cm long removed; downed- five-fold increase in volume of down CWD; and unmanipulated control stands. We collected southern toads ≥4 cm snout-vent length (SVL) during 14 d sampling periods in June and October 2002, June 2003 and during a 28 d sampling period in April 2003. We collected 80, 36 and 35 southern toads in control, downed and removal treatments, respectively. We found no difference in relative abundance or frequency of invertebrate groups consumed among treatments (P > 0.05). Average body weight (g), SVL (cm) and stomach content weight (g wet) of individuals also were similar among treatments (P > 0.05). The role of CWD as a foraging substrate for southern toads in loblolly pine stands of the southeastern Coastal Plain may be negligible, at least in the early stages of decay.
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Vol. 153 • No. 2