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Variations in brood size and birth rates of Salamandra salamandra (Amphibia, Urodela) from different habitats in northern Israel

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Ovoviviparous births of larvae of Salamandra salamandra (L) were compared from a number of disjunct habitats in northern Israel, at the south-eastern limit of the Palearctic distribution of the species. The numbers, period and rate at which larvae were born varied between different habitats. In one winter pond, 90±11 larvae per brood were born at a rate of 5 per hour during December-January; in another pond, broods of 114±13 were born at 4 per hour during November-January; in a third, 112±15 were born at a rate of 4 per hour during November-December. In a perennial spring habitat, 68±2 larvae per brood were born at a rate one per hour during February-March, while in a stream habitat, brood size was 55±10 larvae, born at two per hour over the whole year. There were no significant differences in size between larvae from different habitats. Adjustments in birth parameters of larvae born in winter ponds indicate adaptation to an unpredictable habitat.

Affiliations: 1: Migal Galilee Technological Center, Kiryat Shmona 10200, Israel; 2: Dept. Biology, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel


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