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Life History Patterns of Ambystoma tigrinum in Montane Colorado

Owen J. Sexton and John R. Bizer
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 99, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 101-118
DOI: 10.2307/2424936
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2424936
Page Count: 18
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Life History Patterns of Ambystoma tigrinum in Montane Colorado
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Abstract

A survey of approximately 60 ponds in the Gunnison Basin, Gunnison and Pitkin counties, Colorado, U.S.A., showed a correlation between the thermal ranges of the ponds and the life history pattern of Ambystoma tigrinum populations. Characterization of physical and biotic parameters allowed a ranking of ponds from warm to cool, verified by temperature data taken through two warm seasons (1974 and 1975). The life history pattern of the salamander populations was determined on the basis of the number of size classes of salamanders observed in the pond. A model is proposed relating the thermal regimes of the pond and the observed life history pattern of the salamanders. Three life history patterns are defined for these populations: standard life history, only one size class of larvae; neotenic life history, two size classes of larvae with metamorphosis occurring in the second warm season; and neotenic and paedogenic life histories, three or four size classes of larvae with metamorphosis occurring the the third or later warm season.

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