OSU scientists: Salamanders travel up to 9 miles to have sex

While most salamanders don’t go far to find a mate, Ohio State scientists discovered that some travel as far as six to nine miles to find a partner.

Scientists tested how far salamanders could walk on a miniature treadmill before tiring out, according to the university. They then cross-referenced genetic details of the salamanders from various Ohio wetlands with the distance they traveled on the treadmill.

Some of the salamanders could walk for more than two hours without tiring themselves, said Robert Denton, a presidential research fellow in OSU’s department of evolution, ecology and organismal biology.

“That’s like a person lightly jogging for 75 miles before wearing out,” Denton said.

The research was published online this month in the journal Functional Ecology.

The research was conducted to better understand how salamanders procreate and how to better preserve them and conserve their habitats.

Researchers looked at two types of mole salamanders for their study. One type of salamander studied was all-female and reproduces by cloning or borrowing sperm males leave on twigs and leaves. The other type of salamander studied mates in a more traditional manner, according to the university.

Genetic information collected from wetlands lined up with treadmill tests as the salamanders that mate in a more traditional sense traveled twice as far from their birthplace as all-female cloning salamanders.

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