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Using image analysis on the ventral colour pattern in Salamandrina perspicillata (Amphibia: Salamandridae) to discriminate among populations

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The ventral colour pattern in Salamandrina perspicillata is characteristic of each individual and remains invariant throughout the salamanders' life. The present study aimed to determine, using statistical methods applied to quantitative image analysis, whether the coloration pattern is population-specific. The images of ventral colour pattern of 180 salamanders belonging to five populations were analysed. The images were previously warped by geometric morphometry. To our knowledge, this is the first study to use an approach based on geometric morphometrics to standardize ventral shapes. This technique is useful for eliminating form distortions. The results of an analysis of similarities recognized more coloration similarity among individuals of the same population than among individuals from different populations. Analysis by partial least squares correctly classified the 88.88% of individuals into the correct population. The similarities or differences among individuals of different populations are not related to the geographical distances. The results obtained showed that the coloration of the ventral side of the head of the salamanders can be used for discriminating among populations. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 96, 35–43.
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Keywords: Caudata; PLS; animal coloration; geometric morphometric; image warping; multivariate analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CRA (Agricultural Research Council) – ING (Agricultural Engineering Research Unit), Via della Pascolare 16, 00016 Monterotondo, Roma, Italy 2: Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Università‘La Sapienza’ di Roma, Viale dell'Universita 32, 00185 Roma, Italy 3: Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’, Via della Ricerca Scientifica s.n.c., 00133 Roma, Italy

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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