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Life History Characteristics of Populations of the Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) from Different Altitudes

James H. Howard and Richard L. Wallace
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 113, No. 2 (Apr., 1985), pp. 361-373
Published by: University of Notre Dame
DOI: 10.2307/2425582
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425582
Page Count: 13
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Life History Characteristics of Populations of the Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) from Different Altitudes
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Abstract

Life history characteristics of seven populations of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum columbianum) were examined for differences in relation to altitude from 1976-1978. Populations were located in northeastern Oregon and western Idaho, and varied in elevation from 360-2470 m. Populations below 2100 m bred in the spring, whereas animals from sites above 2100 m bred during midsummer. Egg size differed significantly among the three primary study sites. Females from low elevations had significantly more eggs than those from mid and high elevations. Mean size at hatching was significantly larger in the primary high-elevation populations. In spite of lower water temperatures, larval growth rate at high elevation sites was faster than at lower elevations. Larvae from populations below 2100 m metamorphosed during their 1st summer, whereas larvae from high elevation sites metamorphosed in August and September, presumably during their 3rd or 4th summer. Larvae from the high-elevation sites metamorphosed at 47 mm snout-vent length, whereas those from lower elevations metamorphosed at a significantly shorter length, 35-40 snout-vent length. Size at maturity for both sexes was ca. 50 mm snout-vent length regardless of elevation.

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