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Effects of Pond Drying Time on Metamorphosis and Survival in the Salamander Ambystoma talpoideum
Raymond D. Semlitsch and Henry M. Wilbur
Vol. 1988, No. 4 (Dec. 28, 1988), pp. 978-983
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445721
Page Count: 6
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Responses of the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum to experimental manipulation of pond drying time were examined in artificial ponds. Three drying times (180, 212, and 266 d) and a constant water level control simulated a gradient of natural pond types from ephemeral to permanent. Drying time significantly affected survival and time to metamorphosis. Mean number of days to metamorphosis for a population increased directly with time to pond drying, but days to emergence of the first larva did not. There was a positive correlation between time to pond drying and the number of metamorphosing larvae. Most larvae in the control ponds became paedomorphic. Mean body size at metamorphosis of the population did not change with increasing drying time; metamorphs were larger only in the control ponds. Later drying, however, enabled more individuals to reach the minimum size to initiate metamorphosis as the ponds dried. These results indicate that facultative timing of metamorphosis may be advantageous in responding to annual variation in the drying of temporary ponds or to individuals colonizing unpredictable aquatic habitats.