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Colonization of high-elevation lakes by long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) after the extinction of introduced trout populations

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We surveyed high-elevation lakes for long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) larvae and trout in the northern Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, U.S.A., in 1978, 1997, and 1998. Our objectives were to (i) test whether trout exclude salamander populations; (ii) determine whether lakes in which trout have gone extinct have since been colonized by salamanders; and (iii) estimate the rates of population extinction and colonization in lakes never stocked with trout. In agreement with previous work on the interactions between trout and long-toed salamanders, trout effectively excluded salamander populations from lakes. Somewhat surprisingly, however, salamanders managed to colonize lakes after the extinction of trout populations despite evidence of low levels of interpopulation dispersal in these salamander populations. In lakes never stocked with trout there was no evidence of a decline in salamander populations; 2 of these lakes were colonized and no populations went extinct.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-11-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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