Many species of ambystomatid salamanders are dependent upon highly variable temporary wetlands for larval development. High larval densities may prompt the expression of a distinct head morphology that may facilitate cannibalism. However, few studies have characterized structural cannibalism within natural populations of larval salamanders. In this study we used two species of larval salamanders, long-toed (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and ringed salamanders (A. annulatum). Head morphometrics and stable isotopic values of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) were used to identify the presence or absence of structural cannibalism. Weather conditions were also analyzed as a potential factor associated with the expression of cannibalistic morphology.
© 2014 the authors; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.
Jefferson, Dale M., Maud CO Ferrari, Alicia Mathis, Keith A. Hobson, Eric R. Britzke, Adam L. Crane, Andrew R. Blaustein, and Douglas P. Chivers. "Shifty salamanders: transient trophic polymorphism and cannibalism within natural populations of larval ambystomatid salamanders." Frontiers in zoology 11, no. 1 (2014): 1.
Frontiers in zoology