Fire salamanders are amphibians that exhibit a highly specific reproductive mode termed ovo-viviparity. The eggs develop inside their mothers, and the females give birth to fully developed larvae. The larvae in our study area cluster in two distinct genetic groups that can be linked directly to the habitat (stream or pond) in which the larvae were deposited. Apart from the genetic differences, larvae belonging to the two different habitat types differ in morphological traits, indicating that female fire salamanders already show some type of ecological adaptation to the different habitats. In this study, we investigated whether pregnant fire salamander females of the two habitat-specific genotypes (stream and pond) specifically prefer to deposit larvae in flowing water bodies with a continuous current (i.e., simulating stream habitats) or in water bodies without a permanent water current (i.e., simulating pond habitats). We assumed that the presence of a current is used by the females as a cue to deposit their larvae in the matching aquatic habitat (flowing/standing) according to their own habitat-specific genotype. However, the female fire salamanders of the two habitat-specific genotypes did not show a preference for depositing their larvae in the water body with a water current matching their genotype cluster (stream/pond). Furthermore, the larval genotype did not match the water type in which the larvae were deposited. Overall, this study aimed to test whether fire salamander females of two different habitat-linked genotypes use a water current as a criterion for choosing an aquatic habitat for larval deposition. Our data do not support this hypothesis, leading to the assumption that fire salamander females use other environmental cues to select a water body for larval deposition.
|Journal||Salamandra : German Journal of Herpetology|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- microsatellite loci