Study: Salamanders in the Appalachians are smaller

June 29, 2014 by Bruce Smith

Some scientists suggest it could be another sign of climate change. A new study finds salamanders in the Appalachian Mountains are getting smaller. And the researchers think it's because in a drier, warmer climate, the little cold-blooded creatures use more energy to stay alive.

A study published by researchers from Clemson University, the universities of Maryland and Alabama and Iowa State finds salamanders from the year 1980 on were about 8 percent smaller than those from the previous quarter century or so.

Why should people be concerned about smaller salamanders?

Because they are a key food for animals in the cool dark forests where they live—from birds and snakes to mammals. Those species can be affected because smaller salamanders mean those creatures need to hunt more to find the same amount of food.

Explore further: Salamanders spell out evolution in action

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