Special Issue "The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Salvidio Sebastiano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell'Ambiente e della Vita (DISTAV), Università di Genova, Corso Europa 26, IT-16132 Genova, Italy
Tel. +39 010 3538027
Interests: amphibians; salamanders; Plethodontidae; trophic ecology; subterranean ecology; population dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Salamanders are relevant components of many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. For example, in fishless streams, larval or adult salamanders act as top predators, while in temperate forests, these amphibians act as mid-level predators that regulate the abundance and diversity of the invertebrate soil fauna and indirectly influence the degradation of the leaf litter. Salamanders may also be present in underground habitats (i.e., caves and the surronding subterranean network), which are among the least studied and most fragile ecosystems of the world. Salamanders are usually considered to be generalist predators at the population level, but they also display specialization at the individual level, in particular when prey resources available in the environment become more diverse. In addition, salamanders and newts have complex behaviors, bright colors, and are easy to maintain in captivity. Therefore, these amphibians are often used as model systems to better understand prey–predator interactions and the evolution of cryptic or aposematic defensive colorations, both in the wild and in the laboratory. This Special Issue provides an opportunity to highlight new research on the ecological role of salamanders and newts in prey–predator systems, their trophic behavior, and the evolution of their trophic niche in space and time. Particularly welcome are studies that describe the evolution of the antipredator behavior, individual trophic specialization, and the trophic strategies of single salamander species or complex multispecies guilds.

Prof. Salvidio Sebastiano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Salamanders
  • Newts
  • Trophic ecology
  • Individual trophic specialization
  • Predation
  • Aposematism
  • Antipredator behavior
  • Prey–predator interactions

Published Papers (2 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Variability of A Subterranean Prey-Predator Community in Space and Time
Diversity 2020, 12(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12010017 - 31 Dec 2019
Abstract
Subterranean habitats are characterized by buffered climatic conditions in comparison to contiguous surface environments and, in general, subterranean biological communities are considered to be relatively constant. However, although several studies have described the seasonal variation of subterranean communities, few analyzed their variability over [...] Read more.
Subterranean habitats are characterized by buffered climatic conditions in comparison to contiguous surface environments and, in general, subterranean biological communities are considered to be relatively constant. However, although several studies have described the seasonal variation of subterranean communities, few analyzed their variability over successive years. The present research was conducted inside an artificial cave during seven successive summers, from 2013 to 2019. The parietal faunal community was sampled at regular intervals from outside to 21 m deep inside the cave. The community top predator is the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii, while invertebrates, mainly adult flies, make up the rest of the faunal assemblage. Our findings indicate that the taxonomic composition and the spatial distribution of this community remained relatively constant over the seven-year study period, supporting previous findings. However, different environmental factors were shaping the distribution of predators and prey along the cave. Invertebrates were mainly affected by the illuminance, while salamanders were influenced by both illuminance and distance from the cave’s entrance. The inter-annual spatial distribution of the salamander population was highly repeatable and age specific, confirming a gradual shift towards the deeper parts of the cave with an increasing age. In general, the spatial distribution along the cave of this prey-predator system remained relatively constant during the seven-year study, suggesting that strong selective constraints were in action, even in this relatively recent subterranean ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Reciprocal Role of Salamanders in Aquatic Energy Flow Pathways
Diversity 2020, 12(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12010032 - 17 Jan 2020
Abstract
Many species of salamanders (newts and salamanders per se) have a pivotal role in energy flow pathways as they include individuals functioning as prey, competitors, and predators. Here, I synthesize historic and contemporary research on the reciprocal ecological role of salamanders as predators [...] Read more.
Many species of salamanders (newts and salamanders per se) have a pivotal role in energy flow pathways as they include individuals functioning as prey, competitors, and predators. Here, I synthesize historic and contemporary research on the reciprocal ecological role of salamanders as predators and prey in aquatic systems. Salamanders are a keystone in ecosystem functioning through a combination of top–down control, energy transfer, nutrient cycling processes, and carbon retention. The aquatic developmental stages of salamanders are able to feed on a wide variety of invertebrate prey captured close to the bottom as well as on small conspecifics (cannibalism) or other sympatric species, but can also consume terrestrial invertebrates on the water surface. This capacity to consume allochthonous resources (terrestrial invertebrates) highlights the key role of salamanders as couplers of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (i.e., aquatic–terrestrial linkages). Salamanders are also an important food resource for other vertebrates such as fish, snakes, and mammals, covering the energy demands of these species at higher trophic levels. This study emphasizes the ecological significance of salamanders in aquatic systems as central players in energy flow pathways, enabling energy mobility among trophic levels (i.e., vertical energy flow) and between freshwater and terrestrial habitats (i.e., lateral energy flow). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop