Miwa Wenzel

two lined salamender

Wildlife Tech Class of 2012
Yorktown High School

Project: Microhabitat Use of Two-Lined Salamanders and the Exotic Millipede Boraria stricta: Evidence of Competition for Space?

Project Status: Completed

Project Description: Sometime in the last 20 years, the yellow-spotted millipede, Boraria stricta found its way to Bedford from the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Here at the Preserve, we have the only known colony of B. stricta outside of its native range. This gives us an opportunity to investigate how exotic fauna effects native fauna. Miwa will be investigating how the presence of B. stricta affects the two-lined salamanders who share their habitat.

Adult stream salamanders such as the two-lined salamander Eurycea bislineata spend the spring and early summer in streambeds and other moist areas. They are typically found under rocks and other refugia. This is also the normal habitat for the exotic millipede B. stricta. In addition, Boraria stricta and other millipedes in the same family secrete a dilute hydrogen cyanide solution as a defense mechanism. Because plethodontid salamanders such as the two-lined breathe through their skin, Miwa hypothesized that Boraria stricta could drive away the salamanders from important cover objects.

Alternatively, perhaps the millipede’s secretion may have no serious effect on the salamanders and thus the Boraria stricta could represent a new food source for Eurycea bislineata. Miwa’s research involves sampling for Eurycea bislineata in numerous streams to determine baseline microhabitat patterns and comparing these patterns to habitat patterns and millipede distributions in the streams at the MRGP.

Recognition: : 2010 White Plains Invitational, 1st Place Animal Sciences; 2011 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, 3rd Place Environmental Science; 2011 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, NOAA Award; 2011 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, American Meterological Society Award; 2012 Westchester Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 2nd Place, Biology II; 2012 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair, 1st Place in Environmental Science; 2012 International Sustainable World Project Olympiad, Silver Medal Award: Environment

Posted in WTP Techs.