Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Consistency in trophic strategies between populations of the Sardinian endemic salamander Speleomantes imperialis

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Animal Biology

The study of trophic ecology of terrestrial salamanders is central for a better understanding of their adaptability and dispersal, in particular in Mediterranean ecosystems where their feeding activity is reduced because of prolonged arid periods. Terrestrial salamanders are generalist predators that feed on a large array of invertebrate prey groups, however, there are few studies comparing the feeding strategy and the trophic specialization at the individual level in conspecific populations of salamanders living in different habitats. In this study, two populations of the Sardinian endemic salamander Speleomantes imperialis were sampled in areas characterized by different climate, vegetation and geological substrate. Dietary habits, obtained by stomach flushing, and physiological condition, assessed through a body condition index, were analysed and compared between populations. The two populations displayed different diets on the basis of the taxonomic composition of prey categories, but both of them behaved as generalist predators and shared a similar body condition index. Moreover, in both populations the indices of individual trophic specialization were significantly different from null models assuming a random prey distribution among predators. Therefore, the two populations were largely composed by individually specialized salamanders. Overall, these findings are in good agreement with other studies on the trophic ecology of top predators and in particular of terrestrial salamanders. The realized trophic strategies, i.e. generalist at the population and specialist at the individual level, were highly consistent geographically and the two populations exploited the different arrays of prey found in their environments similarly.

Affiliations: 1: 1Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e della Vita, Università di Genova, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genova, Italy ; 2: 2Laboratory of Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium ; 3: 3Lupinelaan 25, 5582 CG Waalre, The Netherlands ; 4: 4Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium, and Geert Grootestraat 53, 5643RC Eindhoven, The Netherlands ; 5: 5EPMAC Educative and Participative Monitoring for Amphibian Conservation ; 6: 6Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale, Monterotondo Scalo, 00015 RM, Italy

*Corresponding author; e-mail:
Loading data from figshare Loading data from figshare

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Amundsen P.A., Gabler H.M., Staldvik F.J. (1996) "A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data – modification of the Costello (1990) method". J. Fish Biol., Vol 48, 607-614.
2. Andreone F., De Michelis S., Cima V. (1999) "A montane amphibian and its feeding habits: Salamandra lanzai (Caudata, Salamandridae) in the Alps of northwestern Italy". Ital. J. Zool., Vol 66, 45-49. [Crossref]
3. Araújo M.S., Bolnick D.I., Layman C.A. (2011) "The ecological causes of individual specialisation". Ecol. Lett., Vol 14, 948-958. [Crossref]
4. Bison M., Ibanez S., Redjadj C., Boyer F., Coissac E., Miquel C., Rioux D., Said S., Maillard D., Taberlet P., Yoccoz N.G., Loison A. (2015) "Upscaling the niche variation hypothesis from the intra- to the inter-specific level". Oecologia, Vol 179, 835-842. [Crossref]
5. Bolnick D.I., Yang L.H., Fordyce J.A., Davis J.M., Svanbäck R. (2002) "Measuring individual-level resource specialization". Ecology, Vol 83, 2936-2943. [Crossref]
6. Bolnick D.I., Svanbäck R., Fordyce J.A., Yang L.H., Davis J.M., Hulsey C.D., Forister M.L. (2003) "The ecology of individuals: incidence and implications of individual specialization". Am. Nat., Vol 161, 1-28. [Crossref]
7. Bolnick D.I., Svanbäck R., Araújo M.S., Persson L. (2007) "Comparative support for the niche variation hypothesis that more generalized populations also are more heterogeneous". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol 84, 5506-5510.
8. Bower D.S., Pickett E.J., Garnham J.I., Deboo M.L., McCurry M.R., Mengerink R.M., Mahony M.J., Clulow J. (2014) "Diet of a threatened pond frog differs over a small spatial scale". Endang. Species Res., Vol 23, 93-98. [Crossref]
9. Bruce R. (1996) "Life-history perspective of adaptative radiation in Desmognathine salamanders (Urodela: Plethodontidae)". Copeia, Vol 1996, 783-790. [Crossref]
10. Bruce R. (2009) "Life-history contributions to miniaturization in the salamander genus Desmognathus (Urodela: Plethodontidae)". Copeia, Vol 2009, 714-723. [Crossref]
11. Burton T.M. (1976) "An analysis of the feeding ecology of salamanders (Amphibia, Urodela) of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire". J. Herpetol., Vol 10, 187-204. [Crossref]
12. Carranza S., Romano A., Arnold N., Sotgiu G. (2008) "Biogeography and evolution of European cave salamanders, Hydromantes (Urodela: Plethodontidae) inferred from mtDNA sequences". J. Biogeogr., Vol 35, 724-738. [Crossref]
13. Clarke K.R. (1993) "Non-parametric multivariate analysis of changes in community structure". Austr. J. Ecol., Vol 18, 117-143. [Crossref]
14. Costa A., Salvidio S., Posillico M., Matteucci G., De Cinti B., Romano A. (2015) "Generalisation within specialization: inter-individual diet variation in the only specialized salamander in the world". Sci. Rep., Vol 5, 13260. [Crossref]
15. Dempster A.P., Laird N.M., Rubin D.B. (1977) "Maximum likelihood from incomplete data via the EM algorithm". J. Roy. Stat. Soc. Ser. B, Vol 39, 1-38.
16. Devictor V., Clavel J., Julliard R., Lavergne S., Mouillot D., Thuiller W., Venail P., Villéger S., Mouquet N. (2010) "Defining and measuring ecological specialization". J. Appl. Ecol., Vol 47, 15-25. [Crossref]
17. Feder M.E. (1983) "Integrating the ecology and physiology of plethodontid salamanders". Herpetologica, Vol 39, 291-310.
18. Gerking S.D. (1994) Feeding Ecology of Fish. Academic Press, London, UK.
19. Hopkins L. (2002) IUCN and Mediterranean Islands: Opportunities for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
20. Kutrup B., Cakir E. (2005) "Food of the banded newt, Triturus vittatus ophryticus (Berthold, 1846), at different sites in Trabzon". Turk. J. Zool., Vol 29, 83-89.
21. Lanza B., Caputo V., Nascetti G., Bullini L. (1995) Morphologic and Genetic Studies of the European Plethodontid Salamanders; Taxonomic Inferences (Genus Hydromantes). Monogr. XVI. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat., Torino.
22. Lanza B., Pastorelli C., Laghi P., Cimmaruta R. (2005) "A review of systematics, taxonomy genetics, biogeography and natural history of the genus Speleomantes Dubois, 1984 (Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae)". Atti Mus. Civ. St. Nat. Trieste, Vol 52(suppl.), 5-135.
23. Lanza B. (2007a) "Speleomantes imperialis (Stefani, 1969)". In: Lanza B., Andreone F., Bologna M.A., Corti C., Razzetti E. (Eds) Fauna d’Italia. 42, Amphibia, pp.  171-174. Edizioni Calderoni, Bologna, Italy.
24. Lanza B. (2007b) "Genere Speleomantes Dubois, 1984". In: Lanza B., Andreone F., Bologna M.A., Corti C., Razzetti E. (Eds) Fauna d’Italia. 42, Amphibia, pp.  142-152. Edizioni Calderoni, Bologna, Italy.
25. Luiselli L. (2006) "Resource partitioning and interspecific competition in snakes: the search for general geographical and guild patterns". Oikos, Vol 114, 193-211. [Crossref]
26. Maerz J.C., Karuzas J.M., Madison J.M., Blossey B. (2005) "Introduced invertebrates are important prey for a generalist predator". Div. Distr., Vol 11, 83-90. [Crossref]
27. Maerz J.C., Myers E.M., Adams D.C. (2006) "Trophic polymorphism in a terrestrial salamander". Evol Ecol Res., Vol 8, 23-35.
28. Magurran A.E., McGill B.J. (2011) Biological Diversity – Frontiers in Measurement and Assessment. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
29. Milanovich J.R., Strauth S.E., McKay T. (2008) "Diet of western slimy salamander, Plethodon albagula (Caudata: Plethodontidae), from two mountain ranges in Arkansas". Southwest. Nat., Vol 7, 323-330. [Crossref]
30. Mutz T. (1998) "Halthung und Zucht des Sardischen Hölensalamanders Hydromantes imperialis (Stefani, 1969) und einege Beobachtungen zur Ökologie der europäischen Hölensalamander". Salamandra, Vol 34, 167-180.
31. Peig J., Green A.J. (2010) "The paradigm of body condition: a critical reappraisal of current methods based on mass and length". Funct. Ecol., Vol 24, 1323-1332. [Crossref]
32. Piet G.J., Pet J.S., Guruge W.A.H.P., Vijverberg J., Van Densen W.L.T. (1999) "Resource partitioning along three niche dimensions in a size-structured tropical fish assemblage". Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., Vol 56, 1241-1254. [Crossref]
33. Quiroga F., Bonansea M.I., Vaira M. (2011) "Population diet variation and individual specialization in the poison toad, Melanophryniscus rubriventris (Vellard, 1947)". Amphibia-Reptilia, Vol 32, 261-265. [Crossref]
34. Robertson A., McDonald R.A., Delahay R.J., Kelly S.D., Bearhop S. (2015) "Resource availability affects individual niche variation and its consequences in group-living European badgers Meles meles". Oecologia, Vol 178, 31-43. [Crossref]
35. Salvidio S. (1993) "Life history of the European plethodontid salamander Speleomantes ambrosii". Herpetol. J., Vol 3, 55-59.
36. Salvidio S., Romano A., Oneto F., Ottonello D., Michelon R. (2012) "Different season, different strategies: feeding ecology of two syntopic forest dwelling salamanders". Acta Oecol., Vol 43, 42-50. [Crossref]
37. Salvidio S., Oneto F., Ottonello D., Costa A., Romano A. (2015) "Trophic specialization at the individual level in a terrestrial generalist salamander". Can. J. Zool., Vol 93, 79-83. [Crossref]
38. Schriever T.A., Williams D.D. (2013) "Ontogenetic and individual diet variation in amphibian larvae across an environmental gradient". Freshwater Biol., Vol 58, 223-236. [Crossref]
39. Staub N.C. (2016) "Age, sexual dimorphism, and growth rates in the black salamander, Aneides flavipunctatus (Plethodontidae)". Copeia, Vol 2016, 52-59. [Crossref]
40. Stuczka A., Hickerson C.A., Anthony C. (2016) "Niche partitioning along the diet axis in a colour polymorphic population of Eastern Red-backed Salamanders, Plethodon cinereus". Amphibia-Reptilia, Vol 37, 283-290. [Crossref]
41. Svanbäck R., Bolnick D.I. (2005) "Intraspecific competition affects the strength of individual specialization: an optimal diet theory method". Evol. Ecol. Res., Vol 7, 993-1012.
42. Svanbäck R., Bolnick D.I. (2007) "Intraspecific competition drives increased resource use diversity within a natural population". Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Vol 274, 839-844. [Crossref]
43. Terraube J., Guixé D., Arroyo B. (2014) "Diet composition and foraging success in generalist predators: are specialist individuals better foragers?" Basic Appl. Ecol., Vol 15, 616-624. [Crossref]
44. Tinker M.T., Guimarães P.R., Novak M., Marquitti F.M.D., Bodkin J., Staedler M., Bentall G., Estes J. (2012) "Structure and mechanism of diet specialization: testing models of individual variation in resource use with sea otters". Ecol. Lett., Vol 15, 475-483. [Crossref]
45. Toft C. (1980) "Seasonal variation in populations of Panamanian litter frogs and their prey: a comparison of wetter and drier sites". Oecologia, Vol 47, 34-38. [Crossref]
46. Van Valen L. (1965) "Morphological variation and width of ecological niche". Am. Nat., Vol 99, 377-390. [Crossref]
47. Vignoli L., Caldera R., Bologna M.A. (2006) "Trophic niche of cave populations of Speleomantes italicus". J. Nat. Hist., Vol 40, 1841-1850. [Crossref]
48. Walls S. (1996) "Differences in foraging behaviour explain interspecific growth inhibition in competing salamanders". Anim. Behav., Vol 52, 1157-1162. [Crossref]
49. Walton B.M. (2013) "Top-down regulation of litter invertebrates by a terrestrail salamander". Herpetologica, Vol 50, 313-321.
50. Walton B.M., Tsatiris D., Rivera-Sostre M. (2006) "Salamanders in forest-floor food webs: invertebrate species composition influences top-down effects". Pedobiologia, Vol 68, 227-249.
51. Wells K.D. (2007) The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians. Chicago University Press, Chicago, USA. [Crossref]

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Animal Biology — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation