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Ecology of a Speleomantes ambrosii population inhabiting an artificial tunnel

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

A Speleomantes ambrosii population living in an artificial tunnel in NW Italy was studied for two consecutive years. Activity on the walls varied cyclically in relation to seasonal temperatures and food abundance. The main food item was the trogloxenic dipteran Limonia nubeculosa, which accounted for more than 80% of the total ingested prey by volume. Juvenile cave salamanders had a broader trophic nich than adults. Oviposition and juvenile recruitment appeared to be seasonal. The spatial distribution inside the tunnel was related to microhabitat heterogeneity and particularly to the distance from the entrance. Juveniles were observed outside or close to the entrance more often than adults. Movement of adult salamanders were generally low and averaged 7 cm/day; some repeatedly recaptured individuals had a mean home range of 6 m2.

Affiliations: 1: Istituto di Zoologia, Università di Genova, Via Balbi 5, 16126 Genova, Italia; 2: Gruppo Speleologico Ligure "Arturo Issel", Salita Battistine 14, 16100 Genova, Italia


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