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Document Type

Research

Keywords

coexistence, density-dependent, microhabitat, activity, ambystoma salamanders, behavioral ecology

Abstract

To be able to distinguish unnatural amphibian declines from natural population fluctuations we need a better understanding of the mechanisms that affect amphibian community structure. Larval pond-breeding salamanders exhibit density-dependent effects on population parameters, but little is known of the effect of density on behaviors that mediate interactions. Two species, Amby1toma tigrinum (tiger salamander) and A. laterale (blue-spotted salamander), were evaluated in laboratory aquaria for intraspecific and interspecific interactions that affect microhabitat selection and activity. Microhabitat selection was studied by partitioning containers into microhabitats that either contained or lacked refuges, and movement was recorded over a hexagonal grid to determine activity during periods of observation. Both species altered microhabitat preferences and activity levels when they shared tanks with con- or heterospecifics. These density-dependent behavioral changes may indicate that fluctuations in population densities result in behavioral responses that may contribute to coexistence.

Publication Date

September-December 2000

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science

Volume

107

Issue

3-4

First Page

146

Last Page

150

Copyright

© Copyright 2000 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf