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Open AccessArticle

Same Diet, Different Strategies: Variability of Individual Feeding Habits across Three Populations of Ambrosi’s Cave Salamander (Hydromantes ambrosii)

1
Key Laboratory of the Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, Museo “La Specola”, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3
Istituto di Ricerca sugli Ecosistemi Terrestri, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 50010 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy
4
Dipartimento di Scienze e Politiche Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
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Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine (LECA), CNRS, University Grenoble Alpes, 38000 Grenoble, France
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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali (DiSTeBA), Università del Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy
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Istituto per le Risorse Biologiche e le Biotecnologie Marine (IRBIM), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), 08040 Lesina (Foggia), Italy
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CoNISMa, Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare, 00196 Roma, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050180
Received: 14 March 2020 / Revised: 1 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 May 2020 / Published: 6 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
European cave salamanders of the genus Hydromantes are a group of eight species endemic to Italy and south-eastern France. Knowledge on the trophic niche of European Hydromantes is poor, and the few available studies only partially investigate their feeding habits. We performed an in-depth study on the trophic niche of the Ambrosi’s cave salamander (H. ambrosii), assessing the potential divergences among three different populations. All the populations had a similar diet composition, showing a wider trophic niche in fall compared to spring. In only one population, “true specialists” were present; however, in all three populations, generalist individuals always represented the larger proportion. Interspecific and intraspecific competition did not play an important role in determining individual dietary specialisation in H. ambrosii; contrarily, the characteristics of the surrounding environment seemed to be an important factor. The best body conditions were observed in the population located in the site where the non-arboreal vegetation cover was the highest. Besides providing new information on the trophic niche of H. ambrosii, we here showed that studies encompassing both intrinsic and extrinsic factors at the population level are needed to fully understand the trophic dynamics occurring among European cave salamanders. View Full-Text
Keywords: individual diet specialization; ecological opportunity; diet; plethodontid; cave biology individual diet specialization; ecological opportunity; diet; plethodontid; cave biology
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Lunghi, E.; Cianferoni, F.; Ceccolini, F.; Zhao, Y.; Manenti, R.; Corti, C.; Ficetola, G.F.; Mancinelli, G. Same Diet, Different Strategies: Variability of Individual Feeding Habits across Three Populations of Ambrosi’s Cave Salamander (Hydromantes ambrosii). Diversity 2020, 12, 180.

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