|Trophic habitats and aquatic microhabitat use in gilled immature, paedomorphic and metamorphic Alpine newts (Triturus alpestris apuanus) in a pond in central Italy|
Denoël, M.; Andreone, F. (2003). Trophic habitats and aquatic microhabitat use in gilled immature, paedomorphic and metamorphic Alpine newts (Triturus alpestris apuanus) in a pond in central Italy. Belg. J. Zool. 133(2): 95-102
In: Belgian Journal of Zoology. Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Dierkunde = Société royale zoologique de Belgique: Gent. ISSN 0777-6276, more
Diets; Habitat; Predation; Resource availability; Triturus a. alpestris; Fresh water
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Current evolutionary models suggest that the presence of heterogeneous habitats favours the evolution of polymorphisms. In such cases, alternative phenotypes can coexist because they use different resources. Facultative paedomorphosis is a heterochronic polymorphism in which a morph -the paedomorph- retains larval traits during the adult stage while the other morph -the metamorph- is fully metamorphosed. The aim of this study was to determine the microhabitat use and the diet of Alpine newt paedomorphs, metamorphs and immatures (Triturus alpestris apuanus) coexisting in a small pond in Tuscany, central ltaly, i.e. in a habitat where dimorphism is not expected. Although the two adult morphs do not use exactly the same resources, resource partitioning was weaker than in deep Alpine lakes. Nevertheless, the diet of immature gilled newts (larvae) differed from that of adults (metamorphs and paedomorphs). While the larvae eat a large number of planktonic organisms, the adults focus on insect larvae and newt eggs. The differences in resource use favour the coexistence of aquatic juveniles and adults. In the studied pond, facultative paedomorphosis was previously shown to be favoured by a precocious maturity of the paedomorphs. This study shows that the coexistence of paedomorphs and metamorphs may also be supported by some dietary and spatial segregation, although any advantages gained by this pattern are rather limited in the adult stage.