We examined relationships between nest success and attributes of brood crevices in rock outcrops used by green salamanders (Aneides aeneus) on the Blue Ridge Escarpment from 2010 to 2015. We used data from a long-term monitoring program by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and defined nest success as evidence of at least one egg hatching in a clutch. We georeferenced all rock outcrops with nesting green salamanders and calculated straight-line distances to closest outcrops with nesting green salamanders using ArcGIS. A total of 2578 rock outcrops during six nesting seasons were surveyed to determine nest success for 168 nests in 88 crevices from 74 outcrops. Where all crevices could be thoroughly surveyed, attributes of brood crevices (N = 29) and corresponding random crevices at 29 rock outcrops were quantified. Nest success during the 6 y period ranged from 73–92% and was not related to year or any crevice attribute. There was a negative relationship between nest success and straight-line distance to outcrop with nesting green salamanders, and crevices that contained one successful nest were more likely to have a successful nest in another year. Females selected brood crevices that were higher above the ground and shorter in length than those randomly available on the outcrop. These results suggest that the odds of a green salamander having a successful nest decrease as the distance to the closest rock outcrop with other nesting individuals increases. Female green salamanders select brood crevices with attributes that likely minimize direct competition and nest predation from other species of salamanders as well as other predators in general.
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