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Open AccessArticle

Do Salamanders Limit the Abundance of Groundwater Invertebrates in Subterranean Habitats?

1
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria, 26, 20133 Milano, Italy
2
Laboratorio di Biologia Sotterranea “Enrico Pezzoli”, Parco Regionale del Monte Barro, 23851 Galbiate, Italy
3
Key Laboratory of the Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beichen West Road 1, Beijing 100101, China
4
Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, sede “La Specola”, Via Romana 17, 50125 Firenze, Italy
5
Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa
6
LECA, Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, CNRS, The Grenoble Alpes University and The Savoie Mont Blanc University, F-38000 Grenoble, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040161
Received: 19 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
Several species of surface salamanders exploit underground environments; in Europe, one of the most common is the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra). In this study, we investigated if fire salamander larvae occurring in groundwater habitats can affect the abundance of some cave-adapted species. We analyzed the data of abundance of three target taxa (genera Niphargus (Amphipoda; Niphargidae), Monolistra (Isopoda; Sphaeromatidae) and Dendrocoelum (Tricladida; Dedrocoelidae)) collected in 386 surveys performed on 117 sites (pools and distinct subterranean stream sectors), within 17 natural and 24 artificial subterranean habitats, between 2012 and 2019. Generalized linear mixed models were used to assess the relationship between target taxa abundance, fire salamander larvae occurrence, and environmental features. The presence of salamander larvae negatively affected the abundance of all the target taxa. Monolistra abundance was positively related with the distance from the cave entrance of the sites and by their surface. Our study revealed that surface salamanders may have a negative effect on the abundance of cave-adapted animals, and highlited the importance of further investigations on the diet and on the top-down effects of salamanders on the subterranean communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: cave biology; prey; hypogean; underground; stygofauna; Monolistra; Sphaeromatidae; Niphargus; flatworm; aqueduct; seepage cave biology; prey; hypogean; underground; stygofauna; Monolistra; Sphaeromatidae; Niphargus; flatworm; aqueduct; seepage
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Manenti, R.; Lunghi, E.; Barzaghi, B.; Melotto, A.; Falaschi, M.; Ficetola, G.F. Do Salamanders Limit the Abundance of Groundwater Invertebrates in Subterranean Habitats? Diversity 2020, 12, 161.

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