The selection of a foraging habitat may be driven by food availability or by the cost associated with the use of that habitat. This basic tradeoff can lead individuals in the same population to occupy different habitats in response to perceived risk levels. In the southeastern United States, plethodontid salamanders are often observed climbing vegetation, which represents a potential foraging habitat. We examined whether diet composition of the Red-legged Salamander, Plethodon shermani, differed between salamanders found on vegetation and on the ground surface. Contrary to the results of a previous study, we found that the overall number and mass of prey items did not differ between salamanders in these two microhabitats. Furthermore, we found no evidence that the relative use of different prey categories varied in relation to a salamander's selected microhabitat. Although salamanders of all body sizes had consumed a diverse range of prey items, we found evidence of an ontogenetic shift in prey utilization, with smaller salamanders consuming a significantly greater number of prey items than larger salamanders while there was no relationship between body size and mass of prey consumed.

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