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Shifty salamanders: transient trophic polymorphism and cannibalism within natural populations of larval ambystomatid salamanders Public Deposited

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  • INTRODUCTION: Many species of ambystomatid salamanders are dependent upon highly variable temporary wetlands for larval development. High larval densities may prompt the expression of a distinct head morphology that may facilitate cannibalism. However, few studies have characterized structural cannibalism within natural populations of larval salamanders. In this study we used two species of larval salamanders, long-toed (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and ringed salamanders (A. annulatum). Head morphometrics and stable isotopic values of carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) were used to identify the presence or absence of structural cannibalism. Weather conditions were also analyzed as a potential factor associated with the expression of cannibalistic morphology. RESULTS: Populations of salamander larvae did not consistently exhibit cannibalistic morphologies throughout collection periods. Larval long-toed salamanders exhibited trophic polymorphisms when relatively lower precipitation amounts were observed. Larval ringed salamanders were observed to be cannibalistic but did not exhibit polymorphisms in this study. CONCLUSIONS: Structural cannibalism may be transient in both species; however in long-toed salamanders this morphology is necessary for cannibalism. Ringed salamanders can be cannibalistic without morphological adaptations; however the cannibal morph may prolong the viable time period for cannibalism. Additionally, weather conditions may alter pond hydroperiod, subsequently influencing head morphology and cannibalism.
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  • Jefferson, D. M., Ferrari, M. C., Mathis, A., Hobson, K. A., Britzke, E. R., Crane, A. L., ... & Chivers, D. P. (2014). Shifty salamanders: transient trophic polymorphism and cannibalism within natural populations of larval ambystomatid salamanders. Frontiers in Zoology, 11, 76. doi:10.1186/s12983-014-0076-7
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  • 11
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  • DMJ was supported by a Dean’s Scholarship from the University of Saskatchewan and Graduate Teaching Fellowship from the Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan. Research funding was provided by a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant to DPC and MCOF, and Environment Canada operating funds to KAH.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Erin Clark(erin.clark@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-01-21T20:38:06Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) BlausteinAndrewIntegrativeBiologyShiftySalamandersTransient.pdf: 754061 bytes, checksum: e4cb0220c6977a2e3e807dab0102071d (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Erin Clark (erin.clark@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-01-21T20:37:50Z No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) BlausteinAndrewIntegrativeBiologyShiftySalamandersTransient.pdf: 754061 bytes, checksum: e4cb0220c6977a2e3e807dab0102071d (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2015-01-21T20:38:06Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) BlausteinAndrewIntegrativeBiologyShiftySalamandersTransient.pdf: 754061 bytes, checksum: e4cb0220c6977a2e3e807dab0102071d (MD5) Previous issue date: 2014-10-14

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