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Title: Time and size at metamorphosis related to adult fitness in Ambystoma talpoideum

Abstract

The relationships among timing of metamorphosis, size at metamorphosis, and traits related to adult fitness were studied for 8 yr in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum at a temporary pond. Among years, the modal time of metamorphosis and mean body size at metamorphosis were positively correlated with the date the pond dried. In years that the pond dried late, one group of larvae metamorphosed well before the pond dried, whereas the other group metamorphosed just before pond drying. Mean body size of late-metamorphosing individuals was not greater than that of individuals metamorphosing early. Early-metamorphosing males and females were larger at first and second reproduction than were late-metamorphosing individuals. Independent of timing of metamorphosis, larger juveniles at metamorphosis were also larger adults at first reproduction. Age at first reproduction for males was not associated with timing of or size at metamorphosis but large early-metamorphosing females reproduced at a younger age than did small early-metamorphosing females. Neither time of metamorphosis nor size at metamorphosis was associated with survival to first reproduction. These results demonstrate a direct relationship between phenotypic variation generated in the larval stage and adult traits closely associated with an individual's fitness.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Memphis State Univ., TN (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
6860156
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Ecology; (United States); Journal Volume: 69:1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; SALAMANDERS; ECOLOGY; METAMORPHOSIS; PHENOTYPE; POPULATION DYNAMICS; REPRODUCTION; SIZE; SURVIVAL TIME; AMPHIBIANS; ANIMALS; AQUATIC ORGANISMS; VERTEBRATES 520100* -- Environment, Aquatic-- Basic Studies-- (-1989)

Citation Formats

Semlitsch, R.D., Scott, D.E., and Pechmann, J.H.K.. Time and size at metamorphosis related to adult fitness in Ambystoma talpoideum. United States: N. p., 1988. Web. doi:10.2307/1943173.
Semlitsch, R.D., Scott, D.E., & Pechmann, J.H.K.. Time and size at metamorphosis related to adult fitness in Ambystoma talpoideum. United States. doi:10.2307/1943173.
Semlitsch, R.D., Scott, D.E., and Pechmann, J.H.K.. 1988. "Time and size at metamorphosis related to adult fitness in Ambystoma talpoideum". United States. doi:10.2307/1943173.
@article{osti_6860156,
title = {Time and size at metamorphosis related to adult fitness in Ambystoma talpoideum},
author = {Semlitsch, R.D. and Scott, D.E. and Pechmann, J.H.K.},
abstractNote = {The relationships among timing of metamorphosis, size at metamorphosis, and traits related to adult fitness were studied for 8 yr in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum at a temporary pond. Among years, the modal time of metamorphosis and mean body size at metamorphosis were positively correlated with the date the pond dried. In years that the pond dried late, one group of larvae metamorphosed well before the pond dried, whereas the other group metamorphosed just before pond drying. Mean body size of late-metamorphosing individuals was not greater than that of individuals metamorphosing early. Early-metamorphosing males and females were larger at first and second reproduction than were late-metamorphosing individuals. Independent of timing of metamorphosis, larger juveniles at metamorphosis were also larger adults at first reproduction. Age at first reproduction for males was not associated with timing of or size at metamorphosis but large early-metamorphosing females reproduced at a younger age than did small early-metamorphosing females. Neither time of metamorphosis nor size at metamorphosis was associated with survival to first reproduction. These results demonstrate a direct relationship between phenotypic variation generated in the larval stage and adult traits closely associated with an individual's fitness.},
doi = {10.2307/1943173},
journal = {Ecology; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 69:1,
place = {United States},
year = 1988,
month = 2
}
  • Phenotypic variation in metamorphosis and paedomorphosis in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum was examined to determine its environmental or genetic basis. Eight artificial ponds were maintained, four at each of two environmental treatments: constant water level, to simulate fish-free permanent breeding ponds, and gradual drying out, to simulate temporary breeding ponds. Two populations of salamanders were used, derived from two breeding ponds having different frequencies of paedomorphosis. The water level in the drying treatment was lowered during the last 10 wk of the experimental period with no apparent differences in water chemistry parameters between treatments and only a slight change inmore » water temperature during the last 2 wk. The effects of water level were potentially confounded by those of water temperature, density of larvae, and amount food. Population differences in the frequency of metamorphosis and paedomorphosis could potentially represent genetic differences resulting from the different selective regimes that individuals encounter in breeding ponds varying in drying frequency. 35 references, 3 figures, 4 tables.« less
  • Effects of egg size on growth, survival, and metamorphosis of larval salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) were examined in varying environments. Pond drying regime and presence vs. absence of an interspecific competitor were manipulated in a factorial experiment using artificial ponds to measure the responses of larvae. Females that were 4 yr old produced larger eggs and hatchlings than 1-yr-old females. Differences in body size at hatching persisted through day 49 of the experiment but disappeared by day 129. Drying regime also affected body size at day 49 but not at day 129. Larvae from large eggs, and larvae in constant watermore » level ponds, had higher survival to day 129 than larvae from small eggs, and in drying ponds. There was also a significant interaction between egg size and drying regime. Larvae from large eggs survived better than larvae from small eggs in the constant water level ponds, but not in drying ponds. Interspecific competitors did not affect growth or survival to day 129. More individuals metamorphosed from drying ponds than from constant water level ponds. The growth advantages conferred by larger body size at hatching are transient and may disappear during compensatory growth later in the larval period. Body size advantages early in the larval period, however, probably account for increased survival through size-specific mechanisms at a time when newly hatched larvae are most vulnerable.« less
  • We examined effects of coarse woody debris (CWD) and pine litter (PL) manipulations on movement and microhabitat use by mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) in the upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Individuals were tracked within field enclosures using harmonic radar detection from 3 December 2002 to 1 August 2003. Enclosure study one (ES1) consisted of three treatments: (1) high CWD/high PL; (2) low CWD/low PL; (3) high CWD/low PL. Enclosure study two (ES2) consisted of two treatment types: complete PL removal and unmanipulated control. Activity of A. talpoideum within ES1 high CWD/low PL, low CWD/high PL and high CWD/high PLmore » treatments did not differ. Individuals subject to ES2 PL removal treatments moved during more nights than individuals in control treatments. During night surveys ES2 PL removal treatments moved on a greater percentage of nights, and were active for longer periods of time, than individuals in control treatments. A. talpoideum exposed to low PL treatments may have utilized CWD as a means of compensating for inadequate microclimate conditions provided by reduced pine litter depth. Our results suggest that reduction of CWD and pine litter has little effect on A. talpoideum activity levels. Conversely, complete pine litter removal prompts individual salamanders to move more frequently and for longer periods, thereby potentially being subjected to increased desiccation and predation risk.Within managed pine forests in the southeastern United States, forest management practices that minimize pine litter and CWD removal can help to maintain suitable habitat for amphibian groups such as ambystomatid salamanders.« less
  • Migrations of breeding adult and metamorphosing juvenile mole salamanders, Ambystoma talpoideum, were studied in five populations in South Carolina from September 1978 through July 1982. Onset of breeding immigrations occurred as early as September but migrations ''en masse'' did not occur until November, December, or January. Time of peak migration varied annually depending upon meteorological conditions. Total number of breeding adults or breeding population size, was significantly correlated with cumulative rainfall during the time of immigration. Sex ratio of immigrating adults was significantly biased towards males at the beginning of the breeding season whereas by the end of the seasonmore » it was biased towards females. During the very dry year of 1980 - 1981 water levels in two relatively permanent breeding sites were substantially metamorphosis and emigration of sexually mature gilled morphs. Statistical models which predict the magnitude of migrations indicated that rainfall, water level, and minimum air temperature were consistently important environmental variables.« less
  • Facultative paedomorphosis in salamanders is a plastic trait that may represent an adaptation to fluctuating environmental conditions. The author compared the timing of reproduction in paedomorphic and terrestrial-morph Ambystoma talpoideum at the same pond. Paedomorphic adults laid eggs approximately 6 wk earlier than terrestrial morphs. Early egg-laying and subsequent growth of hatchlings resulted in a significant size advantage for larvae from paedomorphic parents at the time that terrestrial-morph eggs hatched. These observations suggest that, under certain environmental conditions, facultative paedomorphosis is advantageous. 36 refs.