Reference : Temporal shift of diet in alternative cannibalistic morphs of the tiger salamander
Scientific journals : Article
Life sciences : Aquatic sciences & oceanology
Life sciences : Zoology
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Temporal shift of diet in alternative cannibalistic morphs of the tiger salamander
Denoël, Mathieu mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Biologie du comportement - Ethologie et psychologie animale >]
Whiteman, Howard H. [Murray State University, Kentucky - MSU > > > > > >]
Wissinger, Scott A. [Alhegeny College, Meadville > > > > > >]
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Blackwell Publishing
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] Amphibian ; Cannibalism ; Feeding ; Niche ; Polymorphism ; Predation ; Trophic polyphenism ; Ecology ; Cannibal morph ; Pond ; Lake ; Tiger salamander ; Habitat supplementation ; Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum ; Amphibian ; Polyphenism ; Rocky mountains ; RMBL ; Prey size selection ; Gape size limitation ; Optimal foraging
[en] Evolutionary theory predicts that alternative trophic morphologies are adaptive because they allow a broad use of resources in heterogeneous environments. The development of a cannibal morphology is expected to result in cannibalism and high individual fitness, but conflicting results show that the situation is more complex. The goal of the present study was to increase our understanding of the ultimate benefits of a cannibalistic polyphenism by determining temporal changes in the feeding habits and biomass intake in a population of tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum). Cannibals in this species develop a larger head than typicals and have prominent teeth, both useful for consuming large prey. Although cannibalism was only detected in cannibal morphs, large temporal variation in resource partitioning was found between morphs. The two morphs always differed in their foraging habits, but cannibalism mainly occurred immediately after the ontogenetic divergence between morphs. Cannibals shifted their foraging later to a more planktivorous diet (i.e. the primarily prey of the typical morph). Cannibals also obtained more prey biomass than typicals. These results indicate that the cannibalistic morph is advantageous over the typical development, but that these advantages vary ontogenetically. Although the results obtained are consistent with models predicting the maintenance of cannibalism polyphenism in natural populations, they show that the foraging tactics utilized by cannibal morphs, and the fitness consequences accrued by such tactics, are likely to be more complex and dynamic than previous studies have suggested. (c) 2006 The Linnean Society of London.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; National Science Fundation - NSF
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students
This paper is publishede by Blackwell and available on Wiley website (

File(s) associated to this reference

Fulltext file(s):

Restricted access
Biol_J_Linn_Soc_2006.pdfThis is the published pdfPublisher postprint144.1 kBRequest copy
Open access
Biol_J_Linn_Soc_2006-author-version.pdfThis is the author version of the manuscript in open accessAuthor postprint107.61 kBView/Open

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBi are protected by a user license.