Skip to main content

Feeding ecology of polymorphic larval barred tiger salamanders in playas of the Southern Great Plains

Buy Article:

$50.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In playas of the Southern Great Plains, larval barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium Baird, 1850) (= Ambystoma mavortium mavortium) are present as polymorphic populations. Typical and cannibal morphs have been previously investigated but intermediate forms have received little attention and their role in playa food web structure is unknown. We investigated the diet composition of these three morphotypes and compared diet preferences of typical versus nontypical morphs. Typical and intermediate morphs had similar body morphology (snout to vent length and stomach content mass), but cannibal morphs had larger stomach content mass than the other morphotypes. However, the intermediate morph had a distinctive diet composition from cannibal and typical individuals as determined by diet composition rankings, diet overlap and similarity indices, and diet diversity. By comparing prey availability versus consumption, we determined that nontypical morphs preferred larger invertebrates such as tadpole shrimps (Triopsidae) and fairy shrimps (Streptocephalidae), whereas typical morphs preferred smaller prey taxa like ostracods (Cyprididae) and water boatmen (Corixidae). Several prey taxa were avoided by all larvae suggesting that feeding in A. t. mavortium in playas is not opportunistic. Our study demonstrates that larval A. t. mavortium are present not only as dimorphic but also as polymorphic populations in playas and indicates that identifying these morphs is essential for the proper understanding of aquatic food webs.

Dans les étangs de playas des grandes plaines du sud, les larves de la salamandre tigrée, Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium Baird, 1850) (= Ambystoma mavortium mavortium) forment des populations polymorphes. Les formes typiques et cannibales ont déjà fait l’objet de recherches, mais les formes intermédiaires ont attiré peu d’intérêt et leur rôle dans la structure du réseau alimentaire des playas reste inconnu. Nous étudions la composition du régime alimentaire de ces trois morphotypes et nous comparons les préférences alimentaires des formes typiques et atypiques. Les formes typiques et intermédiaires ont une morphologie corporelle semblable (longueur museau-évent et masse du contenu stomacal), alors que la forme cannibale a un contenu stomacal plus important que celui des autres morphotypes. Cependant, la forme intermédiaire a une composition de son régime alimentaire distincte de celle des individus typiques et cannibales d’après les classements de la composition du régime, le chevauchement et les indices de similarité des régimes et la diversité du régime alimentaire. En comparant la disponibilité des proies et la consommation, nous avons déterminé que les formes atypiques préfèrent les invertébrés de plus grande taille, tels que les notostracés (Triopsidae) et les anostracés (Streptocephalidae), alors que les formes typiques préfèrent les taxons de proies plus petites comme les ostracodes (Cyprididae) et les corises (Corixidae). Plusieurs taxons de proies sont dédaignés par toutes les larves, ce qui indique que l’alimentation de A. t. mavortium dans les playas n’est pas opportuniste. Notre étude démontre que les larves d’A. t. mavortium forment non seulement des populations dimorphes, mais aussi des populations polymorphes dans les playas et elle indique que l’identification de ces formes est essentielle pour obtenir une juste compréhension des réseaux alimentaires aquatiques.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Sample Issue
  • Reprints & Permissions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more