Assessing the Abundance of Caucasian Salamander, Mertensiella caucasica (Caudata, Salamandridae), with N-mixture Model in Northeastern Anatolia

Abundance of Caucasian Salamander in Northeastern Anatolia

Keywords: abundance estimation, Caucasian salamander, Mertensiella caucasica, Turkey


The endangered Caucasian salamander, Mertensiella caucasica (Waga, 1876), is endemic to the western Lesser Caucasus. Here, we used N-mixed models to analyse repeated count data of Caucasian salamanders from the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. We estimated a mean detection probability of 0.29, a population size of 21 individuals, and a range of 9 to 36 individuals per 20 × 10 m plot. Our results provide preliminary data on the population status of the Caucasian salamander in northeastern Anatolia. These results would contribute to the effective management and conservation of the species.


AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25.03.2023.

Andreone, F., Clima, V. & De Michelis, S. 1999. On the ecology of Salamandra lanzai Nascetti, Andreone, Capula & Bullini, 1988. Number and movement of individuals, and influence of climate on activity in a population of the upper Po Valley. Herpetozoa, 12, 3-10.

Arntzen, J. W. 1981. Ecological Observations on Chioglossa lusitanica (Caudata, Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 1, 187-203.

Arslan, D., Yaşar, Ç., Çiçek, K. & Akın, I. 2020. Assessing population status and conservation of endangered Marmaris salamander, Lycisalamandra flavimembris (Mutz and Steinfartz, 1995), in southwestern Turkey. Herpetology Notes, 13, 531-541.

Başkale, E. & Kaya, U. 2009. Richness and distribution of amphibian species in relation to ecological variables in western aegean region of Turkey. Ekoloji Dergisi, 18 (71), 25-31.

Başoğlu, M., Özeti, N. & Yılmaz, İ. 1994. Türkiye Amfibileri [The Amphibians of Turkey]. Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi No: 151, 1-221.

Beck, H. E., Zimmermann, N. E., McVicar, T. R., Vergopolan, N., Berg, A. & Wood, E. F. 2018. Present and future Köppen-Geiger climate classification maps at 1-km resolution. Scientific Data, 5 (1), 1-12.

Burnham, K. P. & Anderson, D. R. 2002. Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer Press, 1-515.

Costa, A., Romano, A. & Salvidio, S. 2020. Reliability of multinomial N-mixture models for estimating abundance of small terrestrial vertebrates. Biodiversity and Conservation, 29 (9), 2951-2965.

Çiçek, K. & Cumhuriyet, O. 2017. Amphibians and reptiles of the Mediterranean basin. In: Fuerst-Bjeliš, B., ed. Mediterranean identities: environment, society, culture, 203-237.

Çiçek, K., Yakın, B. Y., Afsar, M., Ayaz, D. & Tok, C. V. 2018 a. Some records of Caucasian Parsley Frog and Caucasian Salamander from Eastern Blacksea Region, Turkey. Acta Biologica Turcica, 32 (1), 37-41.

Çiçek, K., Yakın, B. Y., Afsar, M. & Tok, C. V. 2018 b. Conservation strategies for Caucasian salamander, Mertensiella caucasica (Waga, 1876), in Turkey. In: Özcan, G., Tarkan, A. S. & Özcan T., eds. International Marine & Freshwater Sciences Symposium Proceedings, 278-281 (Marfresh2018).

Dereağzı, E. 2016. Cennet Adası (Marmaris)'nda Yaşayan Lyciasalamandra flavimembris türünün populasyon yoğunluğunun saptanması. Unpublished Master Thesis, Ege University, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Science, Izmir, Turkey.

Fiske, I. & Chandler, R. 2011. Unmarked: An R package for fitting hierarchical models of wildlife occurrence and abundance. Journal of Statistical Software, 43, 1-23.

Franzen, M., 1999. Mertensiella caucasica (Waga, 1876) - Kaukasus-Salamander. In: Grossenbacher, K. & Thiesmeier, B., eds. Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas. 4 (I). Schwanzlurche (Urodela), Aula-Verlag, Wiesbaden, 329-366.

Ficetola, G. F., Barzaghi, B., Melotto, A., Muraro, M., Lunghi, E., Canedoli, C., Parrino, E. L., Nanni, V., Silva-Rocha, I., Urso, A., Caaretero, M. A., Salvi, D., Scali, S., Scarì, G., Pennati, R., Andreone, F. & Manenti, R. 2018. N-mixture models reliably estimate the abundance of small vertebrates. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), 10357.

Guyer, C. & Donnelly. M. A. 2012. Visual encounter surveys. In: McDiarmid, R. W., Foster, M. S., Guyer, C., Gibbons, J. W. & Chernoff, N., eds. Reptile biodiversity: standard methods for inventory and monitoring. University of California Press, 218-220.

Kaya, U., Tuniyev, B., Ananjeva, N., Orlov, N., Papenfuss, T., Kuzmin, S., Tarkhnishvili, D., Tuniyev, S., Sparreboom, M., Ugurtas, I. & Anderson, S. 2009. Mertensiella caucasica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009:e.T13198A3418986.

Kéry, M., Dorazio, R. M., Soldaat, L., Van Strien, A., Zuiderwijk, A. & Royle, J. A. 2009. Trend estimation in populations with imperfect detection. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46 (6), 1163-1172.

Kéry, M. 2018. Identifiability in N-mixture models: a large-scale screening test with bird data. Ecology, 99 (2), 281-288.

Mazerolle, M. J., Bailey, L. L., Kendall, W. L., Royle, J. A., Converse, S. J. & Nichols, J. D. 2007. Making great leaps forward: accounting for detectability in herpetological field studies. Journal of Herpetology, 41 (4), 672-689.

Mermer, A., Ayaz, D. & Çiçek, K. 2008. Abundance of Syntopic Newts, Triturus karelinii (Strauch, 1870) and Triturus vittatus (Gray, 1835), in Uludağ National Park (Bursa, Turkey). Turkish Journal of Zoology, 32 (1), 59-64.

Romano, A., Costa, A., Basile, M., Raimondi, R., Posillico, M., Roger, D. S., Crisci, A., Piraccini, R., Raia, P. & De Cinti, B. 2017. Conservation of salamanders in managed forests: Methods and costs of monitoring abundance and habitat selection. Forest Ecology and Management, 400, 12-18.

Royle, J. A. & Nichols, J. D. 2003. Estimating abundance from repeated presence-absence data or point counts. Ecology, 84 (3), 777-790.[0777:EAFRPA]2.0.CO;2

Royle, J. A. 2004 a. N-mixture models for estimating population size from spatially replicated counts. Biometrics, 60 (1), 108-115.

Royle, J. A. 2004 b. Generalized estimators of avian abundance from count survey data. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 27 (1), 375-386.

Sparreboom, M. 2014. Salamanders of the Old World: the salamanders of Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Brill, 1-431.

Tarkhnishvili, D. N. & Serbinova, I. A. 1993. The ecology of the Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica Waga) in a local population. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 5, 147-165.

Tarkhnishvili, D. N. & Gokhelashvili, R. K. 1999. The Amphibians of the Caucasus: Advances in Amphibian Research in the Former Soviet Union. Pensoft Publications, 1-239.

Tarkhnishvili, D. N. & Kaya, U. 2009. Status and Conservation of the Caucasian Salamander (Mertensiella caucasica). In: Zazanashvili, N. & Mallon, D., eds. Status and Protection of Globally Threatened Species in the Caucasus. CEPF, WWF. Contour Ltd., Tbilisi, 157-164.

Tarkhnishvili, D. N., Thorpe, R. S. & Arntzen, J. W. 2000. Pre-Pleistocene refugia and differentiation between populations of the Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 14 (3), 414-422.

Tuniyev, B., Tarkhnishvili, D., Aghasyan, A. L., Bunyatova, S. N., Kamali, K., Mirghazanfari, S. M., Tok, C. V. & Çiçek, K. 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Caucasus. In: Zazanashvili, N., Garforth, M. & Bitsadze, M., eds. Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus. Edition: Supplementary Reports, WWF, Kfw, Tbilisi, 81-94.

Williams, B. K., Nichols, J. D. & Conroy, M. J. 2002. Analysis and management of animal populations. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA, 1-817.

Yaşar, Ç., Çiçek, K., Mulder, J. & Tok, C. V. 2021. The distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles in Turkey. North-Western Journal of Zoology, 17 (2), 232-275.

Zazanashvili, N., Garforth, M. & Bitsadze, M., eds. 2020. Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus. Supplementary Reports.

How to Cite
Yakın, B. Y., Arslan, D., Çiçek, K., & Tok, C. V. (2023). Assessing the Abundance of Caucasian Salamander, Mertensiella caucasica (Caudata, Salamandridae), with N-mixture Model in Northeastern Anatolia: Abundance of Caucasian Salamander in Northeastern Anatolia. Zoodiversity, 57(5).