Reference : Evolutionary ecology of paedomorphosis in the Alpine newt Triturus alpestris
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Life sciences : Zoology
Evolutionary ecology of paedomorphosis in the Alpine newt Triturus alpestris
Denoël, Mathieu mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Biologie du comportement - Ethologie et psychologie animale >]
Joint Meeting of Ichtyologists and Herpetologists - Symposium: amphibian Metamorphosis
26 June - 1 July 2003
[en] Congress
[en] Paedomorphosis, in which individuals retain ancestral characteristics in the adult stage, is widespread in newts and salamanders and is suspected to play an important role in evolution. In some species, paedomorphosis is facultative with some individuals skipping the metamorphic stage. Dimorphic populations of the Alpine newt inhabit a large variety of aquatic habitats such as permanent lakes and temporary ponds. The aim of this study was to determine the benefits of the alternatives in these different habitats. To this end, I focused on resource partitioning, energy intake, body condition and age structures in different populations composed of the two morphs. In deep lakes, there was a substantial trophic differentiation between morphs. Paedomorphs primarily preyed on plankton whereas metamorphs foraged on terrestrial invertebrates that fell to the water surface. By reducing competition, resource partitioning may contribute to the coexistence of the alternative morphs in heterogeneous habitats. On the contrary, in a small pond, resource use was similar in the two morphs. Maturity is reached earlier in the paedomorphs from this small pond than in metamorphs (progenetic process), favoring then a rapid turn-over of the population, while similar gonadal development was observed in one of the deep lakes (neotenic process). Body condition was generally higher in paedomorphs than in metamorphs in each studied population. These results show that facultative paedomorphosis is adaptive in varied habitats, but that different factors may favor it depending of the characteristics of the environment. Paedomorphic phenotypes can thus be selected in low altitude productive ponds and high altitude oligotrophic lakes.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS

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