Document Type



amphibians, reptiles, drift fences, pine barrens, northwest wisconsin


Drift fence surveys were initiated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area (CMWA) in 1993. Systematic drift fence trapping of amphibians and reptiles in the northwest pine barrens was conducted in a 1996- 97 cooperative effort by the WDNR, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). Drift fences were operated in four managed barrens properties, the CMWA, Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA), the Douglas County Wildlife Area (DCWA), and the Moquah Barrens Wildlife Area (MBWA). Eighteen amphibian and reptile species (four salamanders, eight anurans, one turtle, one lizard, four snakes) were captured in ten drift fences in the Northwest Wisconsin Pine Barrens. Fourteen species were captured in the CMWA. The most common species were chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata ssp.), wood frogs (Rana sylvatica), and northern spring peepers (P. c. crucifer). The relative abundance of the amphibians and reptiles captured, expressed as mean 1996-97 catch per effort, did not differ between the four managed properties, but species composition did. Only three species were common to all four properties, the blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale), the eastern American toad (Bufo a. americanus), and the spring peeper. The most likely reason that species composition differs is that the Northwest Wisconsin Pine Barrens is an ecotone for amphibian and reptile species of the western prairies (e.g. tiger salamanders, Ambystoma t. tigrinum) and species of the eastern forests (e.g. spotted salamanders, A. maculatum). All but three tiger salamanders were captured in the southwesternmost property (CMWA) whereas the spotted salamander was captured only in the northeastern-most property (MBWA). Annual variation in CMWA catch/effort rates occurred in total amphibians and reptiles and individual species captured. Total April-May precipitation did not appear to support the catch/effort variation from year to year. However, when broken down into five-day periods, increased catch/effort rates were significantly correlated to precipitation increases, but not to changes in temperature. Timing and amount of precipitation within the breeding season may have impacted herptile movements in the CMWA.

Publication Date

September-December 2000

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



© Copyright 2000 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format