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Open AccessArticle

A Midsummer Night’s Diet: Snapshot on Trophic Strategy of the Alpine Salamander, Salamandra atra

1
MUSE—Museo delle Scienze, Sezione di Zoologia dei Vertebrati, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38122 Trento, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Ambiente e Vita, Università degli Studi di Genova, Corso Europa 26, I-16132 Genova, Italy
3
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per i Sistemi Agricoli e Forestali del Mediterraneo, Via Patacca, 84, 80056 Ercolano (NA), Italy
4
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la BioEconomia, Via Madonna del Piano, 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
5
Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, della Vita e della Sostenibilità Ambientale, Università degli studi di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze, 11/a, 43124 Parma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050202
Received: 30 March 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 17 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
Information on the trophic ecology of the Alpine salamander, Salamandra atra, is scattered and anecdotal. We studied for the first time the trophic niche and prey availability of a population from an area located in Italian Dolomites during the first half of August. Considering that S. atra is a typical nocturnal species, we collected food availability separately for diurnal and nocturnal hours. Our aims were: (i) to obtain information on the realized trophic niche; (ii) to provide a direct comparison between trophic strategy considering only nocturnal preys or considering all preys; (iii) to study trophic strategy of this species at the individual level. In two samplings nights we obtained prey from 50 individuals using stomach flushing technique. Trophic strategy was determined using the graphical Costello method and selectivity using the relativized electivity index. During the short timeframe of our sample, this salamander showed a generalized trophic strategy. The total trophic availability differed significantly from nocturnal availability. Interindividual diet variation is discussed in the light of the optimal diet theory. Finally, we highlighted that considering or not the activity time of the studied taxon and its preys may lead to a conflicting interpretation of the trophic strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: amphibians; feeding ecology; individual specialization; resource selection; salamanders amphibians; feeding ecology; individual specialization; resource selection; salamanders
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Roner, L.; Costa, A.; Pedrini, P.; Matteucci, G.; Leonardi, S.; Romano, A. A Midsummer Night’s Diet: Snapshot on Trophic Strategy of the Alpine Salamander, Salamandra atra. Diversity 2020, 12, 202.

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