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Variations in age, size at maturity and gestation duration among two neighbouring populations of the alpine salamander (Salamandra lanzai)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 June 2001

C. Miaud
Affiliation:
Université de Savoie, UMR CNRS 5553 Laboratoire Biologie des populations d'Altitude, 73 376 Le Bourget du Lac, France
Franco Andreone
Affiliation:
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Sezione di Zoologia, Via G. Giolitti 36, 10123 Torino, Italia
Alexandre Ribéron
Affiliation:
Université de Savoie, UMR CNRS 5553 Laboratoire Biologie des populations d'Altitude, 73 376 Le Bourget du Lac, France
Sara De Michelis
Affiliation:
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Sezione di Zoologia, Via G. Giolitti 36, 10123 Torino, Italia
Valentina Clima
Affiliation:
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Sezione di Zoologia, Via G. Giolitti 36, 10123 Torino, Italia
Jacques Castanet
Affiliation:
Université Paris VII, Laboratoire d'Anatomie Comparée, Boite 7077, 2 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France
Hélène Francillon-Vieillot
Affiliation:
Université Paris VII, Laboratoire d'Anatomie Comparée, Boite 7077, 2 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France
Robert Guyétant
Affiliation:
Université de Savoie, UMR CNRS 5553 Laboratoire Biologie des populations d'Altitude, 73 376 Le Bourget du Lac, France
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Abstract

We describe the age structures of two neighbouring terrestrial salamander populations. The skeletochronological method was also used on larvae in utero and on new-born individuals. The age of adults was 8–24 years in population A, while males reached maturity at 3–5 years old and the youngest females were 6 years old in population B. Males and females from population B were also larger than those in population A. For the first time, lines of arrested growth (LAGs) were also found in the humerus of intra-uterine larvae and new-born individuals, indicating that young can spend up to 3 years in utero (population B) and up to 4 years (population A) before hatching. Growth of adults (fitted by the Bertalanffy model) also exhibited differences in growth coefficient (k) and mean asymptotic length (SVLmax) between sexes and populations. Local climatic conditions differed between the two areas of these populations and we hypothesize that the number of rainy days directly influences foraging during the short period of activity (< 3 months), leading to a delay in age at maturity, smaller length and growth rate, and increased gestation duration in the drier environment. The discussion is focused on proximate environmental influences on the variation of length and associated life-history traits in ectotherms, especially in terrestrial salamanders.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2001 The Zoological Society of London

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Variations in age, size at maturity and gestation duration among two neighbouring populations of the alpine salamander (Salamandra lanzai)
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Variations in age, size at maturity and gestation duration among two neighbouring populations of the alpine salamander (Salamandra lanzai)
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Variations in age, size at maturity and gestation duration among two neighbouring populations of the alpine salamander (Salamandra lanzai)
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