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Sample records for plethodontid salamander mitochondrial

  1. Molecular mechanisms of extensive mitochondrial gene rearrangementin plethodontid salamanders

    SciTech Connect

    Mueller, Rachel Lockridge; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-06-01

    Extensive gene rearrangement is reported in the mitochondrial genomes of lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae). In each genome with a novel gene order, there is evidence that the rearrangement was mediated by duplication of part of the mitochondrial genome, including the presence of both pseudogenes and additional, presumably functional, copies of duplicated genes. All rearrangement-mediating duplications include either the origin of light strand replication and the nearby tRNA genes or the regions flanking the origin of heavy strand replication. The latter regions comprise nad6, trnE, cob, trnT, an intergenic spacer between trnT and trnP and, in some genomes, trnP, the control region, trnF, rrnS, trnV, rrnL, trnL1, and nad1. In some cases, two copies of duplicated genes, presumptive regulatory regions, and/or sequences with no assignable function have been retained in the genome following the initial duplication; in other genomes, only one of the duplicated copies has been retained. Both tandem and non-tandem duplications are present in these genomes, suggesting different duplication mechanisms. In some of these mtDNAs, up to 25 percent of the total length is composed of tandem duplications of non-coding sequence that includes putative regulatory regions and/or pseudogenes of tRNAs and protein-coding genes along with otherwise unassignable sequences. These data indicate that imprecise initiation and termination of replication, slipped-strand mispairing, and intra-molecular recombination may all have played a role in generating repeats during the evolutionary history of plethodontid mitochondrial genomes.

  2. Plethodontid salamander mitochondrial genomics: A parsimonyevaluation of character conflict and implications for historicalbiogeography

    SciTech Connect

    Macey, J. Robert

    2005-01-19

    A new parsimony analysis of 27 complete mitochondrial genomic sequences is conducted to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of plethodontid salamanders. This analysis focuses on the amount of character conflict between phylogenetic trees recovered from newly conducted parsimony searches and the Bayesian and maximum likelihood topology reported by Mueller et al. (2004, PNAS, 101, 13820-13825). Strong support for Hemidactylium as the sister taxon to all other plethodontids is recovered from parsimony analyses. Plotting area relationships on the most parsimonious phylogenetic tree suggests that eastern North America is the origin of the family Plethodontidae supporting the ''Out of Appalachia'' hypothesis. A new taxonomy that recognizes clades recovered from phylogenetic analyses is proposed.

  3. Morphological homoplasy, life history evolution, and historical biogeography of plethodontid salamanders inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes

    SciTech Connect

    Mueller, Rachel Lockridge; Macey, J. Robert; Jaekel, Martin; Wake, David B.; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2004-08-01

    The evolutionary history of the largest salamander family (Plethodontidae) is characterized by extreme morphological homoplasy. Analysis of the mechanisms generating such homoplasy requires an independent, molecular phylogeny. To this end, we sequenced 24 complete mitochondrial genomes (22 plethodontids and two outgroup taxa), added data for three species from GenBank, and performed partitioned and unpartitioned Bayesian, ML, and MP phylogenetic analyses. We explored four dataset partitioning strategies to account for evolutionary process heterogeneity among genes and codon positions, all of which yielded increased model likelihoods and decreased numbers of supported nodes in the topologies (PP > 0.95) relative to the unpartitioned analysis. Our phylogenetic analyses yielded congruent trees that contrast with the traditional morphology-based taxonomy; the monophyly of three out of four major groups is rejected. Reanalysis of current hypotheses in light of these new evolutionary relationships suggests that (1) a larval life history stage re-evolved from a direct-developing ancestor multiple times, (2) there is no phylogenetic support for the ''Out of Appalachia'' hypothesis of plethodontid origins, and (3) novel scenarios must be reconstructed for the convergent evolution of projectile tongues, reduction in toe number, and specialization for defensive tail loss. Some of these novel scenarios imply morphological transformation series that proceed in the opposite direction than was previously thought. In addition, they suggest surprising evolutionary lability in traits previously interpreted to be conservative.

  4. Detection of an enigmatic plethodontid Salamander using Environmental DNA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pierson, Todd W.; Mckee, Anna; Spear, Stephen F.; Maerz, John C.; Camp, Carlos D.; Glenn, Travis C.

    2016-01-01

    The isolation and identification of environmental DNA (eDNA) offers a non-invasive and efficient method for the detection of rare and secretive aquatic wildlife, and it is being widely integrated into inventory and monitoring efforts. The Patch-Nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei) is a tiny, recently discovered species of plethodontid salamander known only from headwater streams in a small region of Georgia and South Carolina. Here, we present results of a quantitative PCR-based eDNA assay capable of detecting Urspelerpes in more than 75% of 33 samples from five confirmed streams. We deployed the method at 31 additional streams and located three previously undocumented populations of Urspelerpes. We compare the results of our eDNA assay with our attempt to use aquatic leaf litterbags for the rapid detection of Urspelerpes and demonstrate the relative efficacy of the eDNA assay. We suggest that eDNA offers great potential for use in detecting other aquatic and semi-aquatic plethodontid salamanders.

  5. Comparing population size estimators for plethodontid salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bailey, L.L.; Simons, T.R.; Pollock, K.H.

    2004-01-01

    Despite concern over amphibian declines, few studies estimate absolute abundances because of logistic and economic constraints and previously poor estimator performance. Two estimation approaches recommended for amphibian studies are mark-recapture and depletion (or removal) sampling. We compared abundance estimation via various mark-recapture and depletion methods, using data from a three-year study of terrestrial salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our results indicate that short-term closed-population, robust design, and depletion methods estimate surface population of salamanders (i.e., those near the surface and available for capture during a given sampling occasion). In longer duration studies, temporary emigration violates assumptions of both open- and closed-population mark-recapture estimation models. However, if the temporary emigration is completely random, these models should yield unbiased estimates of the total population (superpopulation) of salamanders in the sampled area. We recommend using Pollock's robust design in mark-recapture studies because of its flexibility to incorporate variation in capture probabilities and to estimate temporary emigration probabilities.

  6. Spermatogenic cycle of a plethodontid salamander, Eurycea longicauda (Amphibia, Urodela)

    PubMed Central

    Siegel, Dustin S; Alvino, Sam; Trauth, Stanley E; Sever, David M; Gribbins, Kevin M

    2014-01-01

    Previous investigators have described the spermatogenic cycles of numerous species of plethodontid salamanders. Most studies describe a fairly stereotypical cycle with meiotic divisions of spermatogenesis commencing in the spring/summer. However, many studies lack details obtainable from histological examination and/or testicular squashes and, instead, provide only mensural data from the testes. Studies that lacked microscopic evaluation often revealed spermatogenic cycles that varied greatly from that of the stereotypical cycle with meiotic divisions commencing in the fall/winter. Those studies hamper comparisons between the spermatogenic cycles of different species and their environments, as they do not provide a correlation between testicular size and any aspect of the spermatogenic cycle. In the following manuscript, we elucidate the spermatogenic cycle of Eurycea longicauda longicauda in an effort to outline an appropriate protocol for analyzing spermatogenesis in salamanders that will facilitate future comparative studies. Like many Nearctic plethodontids, E. l. longicauda exhibits a meiotic wave that travels through the testes during the summer; this process is followed by spermiogenesis, spermiation, and recrudescence in the fall, winter, and spring. PMID:26413402

  7. A case for using Plethodontid salamanders for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem integrity of North American forests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Welsh, H.H., Jr.; Droege, S.

    2001-01-01

    Terrestrial salamanders of the family P!ethodontidae have unique attributes that make them excellent indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity in forested habitats. Their longevity, small territory size, site fidelity, sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic perturbations, tendency to occur in high densities, and low sampling costs mean that counts of plethodontid salamanders provide numerous advantages over counts of other North American forest organisms for indicating environmental change. Furthermore, they are tightly linked physiologically to microclimatic and successional processes that influence the distribution and abundance of numerous other hydrophilic but difficult-to-study forest-dwelling plants and animals. Ecosystem processes such as moisture cycling, food-web dynamics, and succession, with their related structural and microclimatic variability, all affect forest biodiversity and have been shown to affect salamander populations as well. We determined the variability associated with sampling for plethodontid salamanders by estimating the coefficient of variation (CV) from available time-series data. The median coefficient of variation indicated that variation in counts of individuals among studies was much lower in plethodonticis (27%) than in lepidoptera (93%), passerine birds (57%), small mammals (69%), or other amphibians (37-46%), which means plethodontid salamanders provide an important statistical advantage over other species for monitoring long-term forest health.

  8. Rapid diversification and dispersal during periods of global warming by plethodontid salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Vieites, David R.; Min, Mi-Sook; Wake, David B.

    2007-01-01

    A phylogeny and timescale derived from analyses of multilocus nuclear DNA sequences for Holarctic genera of plethodontid salamanders reveal them to be an old radiation whose common ancestor diverged from sister taxa in the late Jurassic and underwent rapid diversification during the late Cretaceous. A North American origin of plethodontids was followed by a continental-wide diversification, not necessarily centered only in the Appalachian region. The colonization of Eurasia by plethodontids most likely occurred once, by dispersal during the late Cretaceous. Subsequent diversification in Asia led to the origin of Hydromantes and Karsenia, with the former then dispersing both to Europe and back to North America. Salamanders underwent rapid episodes of diversification and dispersal that coincided with major global warming events during the late Cretaceous and again during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal optimum. The major clades of plethodontids were established during these episodes, contemporaneously with similar phenomena in angiosperms, arthropods, birds, and mammals. Periods of global warming may have promoted diversification and both inter- and transcontinental dispersal in northern hemisphere salamanders by making available terrain that shortened dispersal routes and offered new opportunities for adaptive and vicariant evolution. PMID:18077422

  9. Climate change and shrinking salamanders: alternative mechanisms for changes in plethodontid salamander body size.

    PubMed

    Connette, Grant M; Crawford, John A; Peterman, William E

    2015-08-01

    An increasing number of studies have demonstrated relationships between climate trends and body size change of organisms. In many cases, climate might be expected to influence body size by altering thermoregulation, energetics or food availability. However, observed body size change can result from a variety of ecological processes (e.g. growth, selection, population dynamics) or imperfect observation of biological systems. We used two extensive datasets to evaluate alternative mechanisms for recently reported changes in the observed body size of plethodontid salamanders. We found that mean adult body size of salamanders can be highly sensitive to survey conditions, particularly rainfall. This systematic bias in the detection of larger or smaller individuals could result in a signature of body size change in relation to reported climate trends when it is simply observation error. We also identify considerable variability in body size distributions among years and find that individual growth rates can be strongly influenced by weather. Finally, our study demonstrates that measures of mean adult body size can be highly variable among surveys and that large sample sizes may be required to make reliable inferences. Identifying the effects of climate change is a critical area of research in ecology and conservation. Researchers should be aware that observed changes in certain organisms can result from multiple ecological processes or systematic bias due to nonrandom sampling of populations. PMID:25641384

  10. LTR Retrotransposons Contribute to Genomic Gigantism in Plethodontid Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Cheng; Shepard, Donald B.; Chong, Rebecca A.; López Arriaza, José; Hall, Kathryn; Castoe, Todd A.; Feschotte, Cédric; Pollock, David D.; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2012-01-01

    Among vertebrates, most of the largest genomes are found within the salamanders, a clade of amphibians that includes 613 species. Salamander genome sizes range from ∼14 to ∼120 Gb. Because genome size is correlated with nucleus and cell sizes, as well as other traits, morphological evolution in salamanders has been profoundly affected by genomic gigantism. However, the molecular mechanisms driving genomic expansion in this clade remain largely unknown. Here, we present the first comparative analysis of transposable element (TE) content in salamanders. Using high-throughput sequencing, we generated genomic shotgun data for six species from the Plethodontidae, the largest family of salamanders. We then developed a pipeline to mine TE sequences from shotgun data in taxa with limited genomic resources, such as salamanders. Our summaries of overall TE abundance and diversity for each species demonstrate that TEs make up a substantial portion of salamander genomes, and that all of the major known types of TEs are represented in salamanders. The most abundant TE superfamilies found in the genomes of our six focal species are similar, despite substantial variation in genome size. However, our results demonstrate a major difference between salamanders and other vertebrates: salamander genomes contain much larger amounts of long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, primarily Ty3/gypsy elements. Thus, the extreme increase in genome size that occurred in salamanders was likely accompanied by a shift in TE landscape. These results suggest that increased proliferation of LTR retrotransposons was a major molecular mechanism contributing to genomic expansion in salamanders. PMID:22200636

  11. Evaluating Multi-Level Models to Test Occupancy State Responses of Plethodontid Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Kroll, Andrew J.; Garcia, Tiffany S.; Jones, Jay E.; Dugger, Katie; Murden, Blake; Johnson, Josh; Peerman, Summer; Brintz, Ben; Rochelle, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Plethodontid salamanders are diverse and widely distributed taxa and play critical roles in ecosystem processes. Due to salamander use of structurally complex habitats, and because only a portion of a population is available for sampling, evaluation of sampling designs and estimators is critical to provide strong inference about Plethodontid ecology and responses to conservation and management activities. We conducted a simulation study to evaluate the effectiveness of multi-scale and hierarchical single-scale occupancy models in the context of a Before-After Control-Impact (BACI) experimental design with multiple levels of sampling. Also, we fit the hierarchical single-scale model to empirical data collected for Oregon slender and Ensatina salamanders across two years on 66 forest stands in the Cascade Range, Oregon, USA. All models were fit within a Bayesian framework. Estimator precision in both models improved with increasing numbers of primary and secondary sampling units, underscoring the potential gains accrued when adding secondary sampling units. Both models showed evidence of estimator bias at low detection probabilities and low sample sizes; this problem was particularly acute for the multi-scale model. Our results suggested that sufficient sample sizes at both the primary and secondary sampling levels could ameliorate this issue. Empirical data indicated Oregon slender salamander occupancy was associated strongly with the amount of coarse woody debris (posterior mean = 0.74; SD = 0.24); Ensatina occupancy was not associated with amount of coarse woody debris (posterior mean = -0.01; SD = 0.29). Our simulation results indicate that either model is suitable for use in an experimental study of Plethodontid salamanders provided that sample sizes are sufficiently large. However, hierarchical single-scale and multi-scale models describe different processes and estimate different parameters. As a result, we recommend careful consideration of study questions

  12. Evaluating multi-level models to test occupancy state responses of Plethodontid salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kroll, Andrew J.; Garcia, Tiffany S.; Jones, Jay E.; Dugger, Catherine; Murden, Blake; Johnson, Josh; Peerman, Summer; Brintz, Ben; Rochelle, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Plethodontid salamanders are diverse and widely distributed taxa and play critical roles in ecosystem processes. Due to salamander use of structurally complex habitats, and because only a portion of a population is available for sampling, evaluation of sampling designs and estimators is critical to provide strong inference about Plethodontid ecology and responses to conservation and management activities. We conducted a simulation study to evaluate the effectiveness of multi-scale and hierarchical single-scale occupancy models in the context of a Before-After Control-Impact (BACI) experimental design with multiple levels of sampling. Also, we fit the hierarchical single-scale model to empirical data collected for Oregon slender and Ensatina salamanders across two years on 66 forest stands in the Cascade Range, Oregon, USA. All models were fit within a Bayesian framework. Estimator precision in both models improved with increasing numbers of primary and secondary sampling units, underscoring the potential gains accrued when adding secondary sampling units. Both models showed evidence of estimator bias at low detection probabilities and low sample sizes; this problem was particularly acute for the multi-scale model. Our results suggested that sufficient sample sizes at both the primary and secondary sampling levels could ameliorate this issue. Empirical data indicated Oregon slender salamander occupancy was associated strongly with the amount of coarse woody debris (posterior mean = 0.74; SD = 0.24); Ensatina occupancy was not associated with amount of coarse woody debris (posterior mean = -0.01; SD = 0.29). Our simulation results indicate that either model is suitable for use in an experimental study of Plethodontid salamanders provided that sample sizes are sufficiently large. However, hierarchical single-scale and multi-scale models describe different processes and estimate different parameters. As a result, we recommend careful consideration of study questions

  13. Heterochrony repolarized: a phylogenetic analysis of developmental timing in plethodontid salamanders

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Disentangling evolutionary shifts in developmental timing (heterochony) is dependent upon accurate estimates of ancestral patterns. However, many classic assessments of heterochronic patterns predate robust phylogenetic hypotheses and methods for trait reconstruction, and therefore may have been polarized with untested ‘primitive’ conditions. Here we revisit the heterochronic modes of development that underlie the evolution of metamorphosis, maturation, and paedomorphosis in plethodontid salamanders. We focus on the tribe Spelerpini, which is a diverse clade that exhibits tremendous variation in timing of metamorphosis and maturation, as well as multiple independent instances of larval form paedomorphosis. Based on morphology and biogeography, early investigators concluded that the most recent common ancestors of plethodontids, and also spelerpines, were large salamanders, with very long larval periods and late maturation times. This prevailing assumption influenced subsequent heterochronic assessments, which concluded that most modern spelerpines (with shorter larval periods) were derived through multiple independent accelerations in larval development. It was also concluded that most occurrences of larval form paedomorphosis in this clade resulted from progenesis (acceleration of gonadal development relative to metamorphosis). Results By reconstructing the time to metamorphosis on a molecular-based phylogeny of plethodontids, we find that ancestral spelerpines likely had relatively shorter larval periods than previously proposed. Taken together with the credibility interval from our ancestral state estimation we show that very long larval periods are likely derived decelerations, only a few lineages have undergone appreciable accelerations in metamorphic timing, and the remaining taxa have lower probabilities of being different than the ancestral condition (possibly due to stasis). Reconstructing maturation age across nodes concomitant with the

  14. Resistance to Chytridiomycosis in European Plethodontid Salamanders of the Genus Speleomantes

    PubMed Central

    Blooi, Mark; Tessa, Giulia; Bogaerts, Sergé; Sotgiu, Giuseppe; Garner, Trenton W. J.; Fisher, Matthew C.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Woeltjes, Tonnie; Beukema, Wouter; Bovero, Stefano; Adriaensen, Connie; Oneto, Fabrizio; Ottonello, Dario

    2013-01-01

    North America and the neotropics harbor nearly all species of plethodontid salamanders. In contrast, this family of caudate amphibians is represented in Europe and Asia by two genera, Speleomantes and Karsenia, which are confined to small geographic ranges. Compared to neotropical and North American plethodontids, mortality attributed to chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has not been reported for European plethodontids, despite the established presence of Bd in their geographic distribution. We determined the extent to which Bd is present in populations of all eight species of European Speleomantes and show that Bd was undetectable in 921 skin swabs. We then compared the susceptibility of one of these species, Speleomantes strinatii, to experimental infection with a highly virulent isolate of Bd (BdGPL), and compared this to the susceptible species Alytes muletensis. Whereas the inoculated A. muletensis developed increasing Bd-loads over a 4-week period, none of five exposed S. strinatii were colonized by Bd beyond 2 weeks post inoculation. Finally, we determined the extent to which skin secretions of Speleomantes species are capable of killing Bd. Skin secretions of seven Speleomantes species showed pronounced killing activity against Bd over 24 hours. In conclusion, the absence of Bd in Speleomantes combined with resistance to experimental chytridiomycosis and highly efficient skin defenses indicate that the genus Speleomantes is a taxon unlikely to decline due to Bd. PMID:23703511

  15. Trends in Ranavirus Prevalence Among Plethodontid Salamanders in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    PubMed

    Sutton, William B; Gray, Matthew J; Hoverman, Jason T; Secrist, Richard G; Super, Paul E; Hardman, Rebecca H; Tucker, Jennifer L; Miller, Debra L

    2015-06-01

    Emerging pathogens are a potential contributor to global amphibian declines. Ranaviruses, which infect ectothermic vertebrates and are common in aquatic environments, have been implicated in die-offs of at least 72 amphibian species worldwide. Most studies on the subject have focused on pool-breeding amphibians, and infection trends in other amphibian species assemblages have been understudied. Our primary study objective was to evaluate hypotheses explaining ranavirus prevalence within a lungless salamander assemblage (Family Plethodontidae) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. We sampled 566 total plethodontid salamanders representing 14 species at five sites over a 6-year period (2007-2012). We identified ranavirus-positive individuals in 11 of the 14 (78.6%) sampled species, with salamanders in the genus Desmognathus having greatest infection prevalence. Overall, we found the greatest support for site elevation and sampling year determining infection prevalence. We detected the greatest number of infections in 2007 with 82.5% of sampled individuals testing positive for ranavirus, which we attribute to record drought during this year. Infection prevalence remained relatively high in low-elevation sites in 2008 and 2009. Neither body condition nor aquatic dependence was a significant predictor of ranavirus prevalence. Overall, our results indicate that life history differences among species play a minor role determining ranavirus prevalence compared to the larger effects of site elevation and yearly fluctuations (likely due to environmental stressors) during sampling years. PMID:25537630

  16. Effect of acute low body temperature on predatory behavior and prey-capture efficiency in a plethodontid salamander.

    PubMed

    Marvin, Glenn A; Davis, Kayla; Dawson, Jacob

    2016-05-01

    The low-temperature limit for feeding in some salamander species (Desmognathus, Plethodontidae) has been inferred from field studies of seasonal variation in salamander activity and gut contents, which could not determine whether feeding is more dependent on environmental conditions influencing salamander foraging behavior or prey availability and movement. We performed two controlled laboratory experiments to examine the effect of short-term (acute) low body temperature on predatory behavior and prey-capture efficiency in a semiaquatic plethodontid salamander (Desmognathus conanti). In the first experiment, we quantified variation in the feeding responses of cold salamanders (at 1, 3, 5 and 7°C) to a video recording of a walking, warm (15°C) cricket to determine the lower thermal limit for predatory behavior, independent of any temperature effect on movement of prey. Experimental-group salamanders exhibited vigorous feeding responses at 5 and 7°C, large variation in feeding responses both among and within individuals (over time) at 3°C, and little to no feeding response at 1°C. Feeding responses at both 1 and 3°C were significantly less than at each higher temperature, whereas responses of control-group individuals at 15°C did not vary over time. In the second experiment, we quantified feeding by cold salamanders (at 3, 5, 7 and 11°C) on live, warm crickets to examine thermal effects on prey-capture ability. The mean feeding response to live crickets was significantly less at 3°C than at higher temperatures; however, 50% of salamanders captured and ingested prey with high efficiency at this temperature. We conclude that many individuals stalk and capture prey at very low temperatures (down to 3°C). Our results support a growing body of data that indicate many plethodontid salamanders feed at temperatures only a few degrees above freezing. PMID:26939728

  17. Thermal equilibrium and temperature differences among body regions in European plethodontid salamanders.

    PubMed

    Lunghi, Enrico; Manenti, Raoul; Canciani, Giancarlo; Scarì, Giorgio; Pennati, Roberta; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

    2016-08-01

    Information on species thermal physiology is extremely important to understand species responses to environmental heterogeneity and changes. Thermography is an emerging technology that allows high resolution and accurate measurement of body temperature, but until now it has not been used to study thermal physiology of amphibians in the wild. Hydromantes terrestrial salamanders are strongly depending on ambient temperature for their activity and gas exchanges, but information on their body temperature is extremely limited. In this study we tested if Hydromantes salamanders are thermoconform, we assessed whether there are temperature differences among body regions, and evaluated the time required to reach the thermal equilibrium. During summers of 2014 and 2015 we analysed 56 salamanders (Hydromantes ambrosii and Hydromantes italicus) using infrared thermocamera. We photographed salamanders at the moment in which we found them and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 15min after having kept them in the hands. Body temperature was equal to air temperature; salamanders attained the equilibrium with air temperature in about 8min, the time required to reach equilibrium was longer in individuals with large body size. We detected small temperature differences between body parts, the head being slightly warmer than the body and the tail (mean difference: 0.05°C). These salamanders quickly reach the equilibrium with the environment, thus microhabitat measurement allows obtaining accurate information on their tolerance limits. PMID:27503719

  18. Conflicting patterns of genetic structure produced by nuclear and mitochondrial markers in the Oregon Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps wrighti): implications for conservation efforts and species management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Mark; Haig, Susan M.; Wagner, R.S.

    2005-01-01

    Endemic to Oregon in the northwestern US, the Oregon slender salamander (Batrachoseps wrighti) is a terrestrial plethodontid found associated with late successional mesic forests. Consequently, forest management practices such as timber harvesting may impact their persistence. Therefore, to infer possible future effects of these practices on population structure and differentiation, we used mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome b) and RAPD markers to analyze 22 populations across their range. Phylogenetic analyses of sequence data (774 bp) revealed two historical lineages corresponding to northern and southern-distributed populations. Relationships among haplotypes and haplotype diversity within lineages suggested that the northern region may have more recently been colonized compared to the southern region. In contrast to the mitochondrial data, analyses of 46 RAPD loci suggested an overall pattern of isolation-by-distance in the set of populations examined and no particularly strong clustering of populations based on genetic distances. We propose two non-exclusive hypotheses to account for discrepancies between mitochondrial and nuclear data sets. First, our data may reflect an overall ancestral pattern of isolation-by-distance that has subsequently been influenced by vicariance. Alternately, our analyses may suggest that male-mediated gene flow and female philopatry are important contributors to the pattern of genetic diversity. We discuss the importance of distinguishing between these two hypotheses for the purposes of identifying conservation units and note that, regardless of the relative contribution of each mechanism towards the observed pattern of diversity, protection of habitat will likely prove critical for the long-term persistence of this species.

  19. Transcriptional and phylogenetic analysis of five complete ambystomatid salamander mitochondrial genomes.

    PubMed

    Samuels, Amy K; Weisrock, David W; Smith, Jeramiah J; France, Katherine J; Walker, John A; Putta, Srikrishna; Voss, S Randal

    2005-04-11

    We report on a study that extended mitochondrial transcript information from a recent EST project to obtain complete mitochondrial genome sequence for 5 tiger salamander complex species (Ambystoma mexicanum, A. t. tigrinum, A. andersoni, A. californiense, and A. dumerilii). We describe, for the first time, aspects of mitochondrial transcription in a representative amphibian, and then use complete mitochondrial sequence data to examine salamander phylogeny at both deep and shallow levels of evolutionary divergence. The available mitochondrial ESTs for A. mexicanum (N=2481) and A. t. tigrinum (N=1205) provided 92% and 87% coverage of the mitochondrial genome, respectively. Complete mitochondrial sequences for all species were rapidly obtained by using long distance PCR and DNA sequencing. A number of genome structural characteristics (base pair length, base composition, gene number, gene boundaries, codon usage) were highly similar among all species and to other distantly related salamanders. Overall, mitochondrial transcription in Ambystoma approximated the pattern observed in other vertebrates. We inferred from the mapping of ESTs onto mtDNA that transcription occurs from both heavy and light strand promoters and continues around the entire length of the mtDNA, followed by post-transcriptional processing. However, the observation of many short transcripts corresponding to rRNA genes indicates that transcription may often terminate prematurely to bias transcription of rRNA genes; indeed an rRNA transcription termination signal sequence was observed immediately following the 16S rRNA gene. Phylogenetic analyses of salamander family relationships consistently grouped Ambystomatidae in a clade containing Cryptobranchidae and Hynobiidae, to the exclusion of Salamandridae. This robust result suggests a novel alternative hypothesis because previous studies have consistently identified Ambystomatidae and Salamandridae as closely related taxa. Phylogenetic analyses of tiger

  20. Complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial genome of a salamander, Mertensiella luschani.

    PubMed

    Zardoya, Rafael; Malaga-Trillo, Edward; Veith, Michael; Meyer, Axel

    2003-10-23

    The complete nucleotide sequence (16,650 bp) of the mitochondrial genome of the salamander Mertensiella luschani (Caudata, Amphibia) was determined. This molecule conforms to the consensus vertebrate mitochondrial gene order. However, it is characterized by a long non-coding intervening sequence with two 124-bp repeats between the tRNA(Thr) and tRNA(Pro) genes. The new sequence data were used to reconstruct a phylogeny of jawed vertebrates. Phylogenetic analyses of all mitochondrial protein-coding genes at the amino acid level recovered a robust vertebrate tree in which lungfishes are the closest living relatives of tetrapods, salamanders and frogs are grouped together to the exclusion of caecilians (the Batrachia hypothesis) in a monophyletic amphibian clade, turtles show diapsid affinities and are placed as sister group of crocodiles+birds, and the marsupials are grouped together with monotremes and basal to placental mammals. The deduced phylogeny was used to characterize the molecular evolution of vertebrate mitochondrial proteins. Amino acid frequencies were analyzed across the main lineages of jawed vertebrates, and leucine and cysteine were found to be the most and least abundant amino acids in mitochondrial proteins, respectively. Patterns of amino acid replacements were conserved among vertebrates. Overall, cartilaginous fishes showed the least variation in amino acid frequencies and replacements. Constancy of rates of evolution among the main lineages of jawed vertebrates was rejected. PMID:14604788

  1. Phylogeny and genetic history of the Siberian salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii, Dybowski, 1870) inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes.

    PubMed

    Malyarchuk, Boris; Derenko, Miroslava; Denisova, Galina

    2013-05-01

    We assessed phylogeny of the Siberian salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii, Dybowski, 1870), the most northern ectothermic, terrestrial vertebrate in Eurasia, by sequence analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes in 26 specimens from different localities (China, Khabarovsk region, Sakhalin, Yakutia, Magadan region, Chukotka, Kamchatka, Ural, European part of Russia). In addition, a complete mitochondrial genome of the Schrenck salamander, Salamandrella schrenckii, was determined for the first time. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of the entire mtDNA genomes of S. keyserlingii demonstrates that two haplotype clades, AB and C, radiated about 1.4 million years ago (Mya). Bayesian skyline plots of population size change through time show an expansion around 250 thousand years ago (kya) and then a decline around the Last Glacial Maximum (25 kya) with subsequent restoration of population size. Climatic changes during the Quaternary period have dramatically affected the population genetic structure of the Siberian salamanders. In addition, complete mtDNA sequence analysis allowed us to recognize that the vast area of Northern Eurasia was colonized only by the Siberian salamander clade C1b during the last 150 kya. Meanwhile, we were unable to find evidence of molecular adaptation in this clade by analyzing the whole mitochondrial genomes of the Siberian salamanders. PMID:23415986

  2. [Episodes of adaptive evolution of mitochondrial genome in Asiatic salamanders (Amphibia, Caudata, Hynobiidae)].

    PubMed

    Maliarchuk, B A; Derenko, M V; Denisova, G A

    2014-02-01

    To elucidate the effect of natural selection on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in Asiatic salamanders of the family Hynobiidae, nucleotide sequences of 12 protein-coding genes were analyzed. Using a mixed effects model of evolution, it was found that, in spite of the pronounced effect of negative selection on the mtDNA evolution in Hynobiidae (which is typical for the animals in general), two phylogenetic clusters, the West Asian one, represented by the genera Ranodon and Paradactylodon, and North Eurasian one, represented by the genus Salamandrella, were formed under the influence of episodic positive selection. Analysis of protein sequences encoded by the mitochondrial genome also supported the influence of positive selection on the evolution of Hynobiidae at some stages of their cladogenesis. It is suggested that the signatures of adaptive evolution detected in the mtDNA of Hynobiidae were determined by the complex and long-lasting history of their formation, accompanied by adaptation to the changing environment. PMID:25711027

  3. Nuclear and mitochondrial multilocus phylogeny and survey of alkaloid content in true salamanders of the genus Salamandra (Salamandridae).

    PubMed

    Vences, Miguel; Sanchez, Eugenia; Hauswaldt, J Susanne; Eikelmann, Daniel; Rodríguez, Ariel; Carranza, Salvador; Donaire, David; Gehara, Marcelo; Helfer, Véronique; Lötters, Stefan; Werner, Philine; Schulz, Stefan; Steinfartz, Sebastian

    2014-04-01

    The genus Salamandra represents a clade of six species of Palearctic salamanders of either contrasted black-yellow, or uniformly black coloration, known to contain steroidal alkaloid toxins in high concentrations in their skin secretions. This study reconstructs the phylogeny of the genus Salamandra based on DNA sequences of segments of 10 mitochondrial and 13 nuclear genes from 31 individual samples representing all Salamandra species and most of the commonly recognized subspecies. The concatenated analysis of the complete dataset produced a fully resolved tree with most nodes strongly supported, suggesting that a clade composed of the Alpine salamander (S. atra) and the Corsican fire salamander (S. corsica) is the sister taxon to a clade containing the remaining species, among which S. algira and S. salamandra are sister species. Separate analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear data partitions disagreed regarding basal nodes and in the position of the root but concordantly recovered the S. atra/S. corsica as well as the S. salamandra/S. algira relationship. A species-tree analysis suggested almost simultaneous temporal splits between these pairs of species, which we hypothesize was caused by vicariance events after the Messinian salinity crisis (from late Miocene to early Pliocene). A survey of toxins with combined gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy confirmed the presence of samandarine and/or samandarone steroidal alkaloids in all species of Salamandra as well as in representatives of their sister group, Lyciasalamandra. Samandarone was also detected in lower concentrations in other salamandrids including Calotriton, Euproctus, Lissotriton, and Triturus, suggesting that the presence and possible biosynthesis of this alkaloid is plesiomorphic within the Salamandridae. PMID:24412216

  4. Spatial variation in water loss predicts terrestrial salamander distribution and population dynamics.

    PubMed

    Peterman, W E; Semlitsch, R D

    2014-10-01

    Many patterns observed in ecology, such as species richness, life history variation, habitat use, and distribution, have physiological underpinnings. For many ectothermic organisms, temperature relationships shape these patterns, but for terrestrial amphibians, water balance may supersede temperature as the most critical physiologically limiting factor. Many amphibian species have little resistance to water loss, which restricts them to moist microhabitats, and may significantly affect foraging, dispersal, and courtship. Using plaster models as surrogates for terrestrial plethodontid salamanders (Plethodon albagula), we measured water loss under ecologically relevant field conditions to estimate the duration of surface activity time across the landscape. Surface activity time was significantly affected by topography, solar exposure, canopy cover, maximum air temperature, and time since rain. Spatially, surface activity times were highest in ravine habitats and lowest on ridges. Surface activity time was a significant predictor of salamander abundance, as well as a predictor of successful recruitment; the probability of a juvenile salamander occupying an area with high surface activity time was two times greater than an area with limited predicted surface activity. Our results suggest that survival, recruitment, or both are demographic processes that are affected by water loss and the ability of salamanders to be surface-active. Results from our study extend our understanding of plethodontid salamander ecology, emphasize the limitations imposed by their unique physiology, and highlight the importance of water loss to spatial population dynamics. These findings are timely for understanding the effects that fluctuating temperature and moisture conditions predicted for future climates will have on plethodontid salamanders. PMID:25154754

  5. Enlarged Multilocus Data set Provides Surprisingly Younger Time of Origin for the Plethodontidae, the Largest Family of Salamanders.

    PubMed

    Shen, Xing-Xing; Liang, Dan; Chen, Meng-Yun; Mao, Rong-Li; Wake, David B; Zhang, Peng

    2016-01-01

    Deep phylogenetic relationships of the largest salamander family Plethodontidae have been difficult to resolve, probably reflecting a rapid diversification early in their evolutionary history. Here, data from 50 independent nuclear markers (total 48,582 bp) are used to reconstruct the phylogeny and divergence times for plethodontid salamanders, using both concatenation and coalescence-based species tree analyses. Our results robustly resolve the position of the enigmatic eastern North American four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium) as the sister taxon of Batrachoseps + Tribe Bolitoglossini, thus settling a long-standing question. Furthermore, we statistically reject sister taxon status of Karsenia and Hydromantes, the only plethodontids to occur outside the Americas, leading us to new biogeographic hypotheses. Contrary to previous long-standing arguments that plethodontid salamanders are an old lineage originating in the Cretaceous (more than 90 Ma), our analyses lead to the hypothesis that these salamanders are much younger, arising close to the K-T boundary (~66 Ma). These time estimates are highly stable using alternative calibration schemes and dating methods. Our data simulation highlights the potential risk of making strong arguments about phylogenetic timing based on inferences from a handful of nuclear genes, a common practice. Based on the newly obtained timetree and ancestral area reconstruction results, we argue that (i) the classic "Out of Appalachia" hypothesis of plethodontid origins is problematic; (ii) the common ancestor of extant plethodontids may have originated in northwestern North America in the early Paleocene; (iii) origins of Eurasian plethodontids likely result from two separate dispersal events from western North America via Beringia in the late Eocene (~42 Ma) and the early Miocene (~23 Ma), respectively. PMID:26385618

  6. Gene lineages and eastern North American palaeodrainage basins: phylogeography and speciation in salamanders of the Eurycea bislineata species complex.

    PubMed

    Kozak, Kenneth H; Blaine, Russell A; Larson, Allan

    2006-01-01

    Contemporary North American drainage basins are composites of formerly isolated drainages, suggesting that fragmentation and fusion of palaeodrainage systems may have been an important factor generating current patterns of genetic and species diversity in stream-associated organisms. Here, we combine traditional molecular-phylogenetic, multiple-regression, nested clade, and molecular-demographic analyses to investigate the relationship between phylogeographic variation and the hydrogeological history of eastern North American drainage basins in semiaquatic plethodontid salamanders of the Eurycea bislineata species complex. Four hundred forty-two sequences representing 1108 aligned bases from the mitochondrial genome are reported for the five formally recognized species of the E. bislineata complex and three outgroup taxa. Within the in-group, 270 haplotypes are recovered from 144 sampling locations. Geographic patterns of mtDNA-haplotype coalescence identify 13 putatively independent population-level lineages, suggesting that the current taxonomy of the group underestimates species-level diversity. Spatial and temporal patterns of phylogeographic divergence are strongly associated with historical rather than modern drainage connections, indicating that shifts in major drainage patterns played a pivotal role in the allopatric fragmentation of populations and build-up of lineage diversity in these stream-associated salamanders. More generally, our molecular genetic results corroborate geological and faunistic evidence suggesting that palaeodrainage connections altered by glacial advances and headwater erosion occurring between the mid-Miocene and Pleistocene epochs explain regional patterns of biodiversity in eastern North American streams. PMID:16367840

  7. Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex

    PubMed Central

    Wake, David B.

    1997-01-01

    The Ensatina eschscholtzii complex of plethodontid salamanders, a well-known “ring species,” is thought to illustrate stages in the speciation process. Early research, based on morphology and coloration, has been extended by the incorporation of studies of protein variation and mitochondrial DNA sequences. The new data show that the complex includes a number of geographically and genetically distinct components that are at or near the species level. The complex is old and apparently has undergone instances of range contraction, isolation, differentiation, and then expansion and secondary contact. While the hypothesis that speciation is retarded by gene flow around the ring is not supported by molecular data, the general biogeographical hypothesis is supported. There is evidence of a north to south range expansion along two axes, with secondary contact and completion of the ring in southern California. Current research targets regions once thought to show primary intergradation, but which molecular markers reveal to be zones of secondary contact. Here emphasis is on the subspecies E. e. xanthoptica, which is involved in four distinct secondary contacts in central California. There is evidence of renewed genetic interactions upon recontact, with greater genetic differentiation within xanthoptica than between it and some of the interacting populations. The complex presents a full array of intermediate conditions between well-marked species and geographically variable populations. Geographically differentiated segments represent a diversity of depths of time of isolation and admixture, reflecting the complicated geomorphological history of California. Ensatina illustrates the continuing difficulty in making taxonomic assignments in complexes studied during species formation. PMID:9223261

  8. Projected Loss of a Salamander Diversity Hotspot as a Consequence of Projected Global Climate Change

    PubMed Central

    Milanovich, Joseph R.; Peterman, William E.; Nibbelink, Nathan P.; Maerz, John C.

    2010-01-01

    Background Significant shifts in climate are considered a threat to plants and animals with significant physiological limitations and limited dispersal abilities. The southern Appalachian Mountains are a global hotspot for plethodontid salamander diversity. Plethodontids are lungless ectotherms, so their ecology is strongly governed by temperature and precipitation. Many plethodontid species in southern Appalachia exist in high elevation habitats that may be at or near their thermal maxima, and may also have limited dispersal abilities across warmer valley bottoms. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a maximum-entropy approach (program Maxent) to model the suitable climatic habitat of 41 plethodontid salamander species inhabiting the Appalachian Highlands region (33 individual species and eight species included within two species complexes). We evaluated the relative change in suitable climatic habitat for these species in the Appalachian Highlands from the current climate to the years 2020, 2050, and 2080, using both the HADCM3 and the CGCM3 models, each under low and high CO2 scenarios, and using two-model thresholds levels (relative suitability thresholds for determining suitable/unsuitable range), for a total of 8 scenarios per species. Conclusion/Significance While models differed slightly, every scenario projected significant declines in suitable habitat within the Appalachian Highlands as early as 2020. Species with more southern ranges and with smaller ranges had larger projected habitat loss. Despite significant differences in projected precipitation changes to the region, projections did not differ significantly between global circulation models. CO2 emissions scenario and model threshold had small effects on projected habitat loss by 2020, but did not affect longer-term projections. Results of this study indicate that choice of model threshold and CO2 emissions scenario affect short-term projected shifts in climatic distributions of species; however

  9. Hellbender Genome Sequences Shed Light on Genomic Expansion at the Base of Crown Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Cheng; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2014-01-01

    Among animals, genome sizes range from 20 Mb to 130 Gb, with 380-fold variation across vertebrates. Most of the largest vertebrate genomes are found in salamanders, an amphibian clade of 660 species. Thus, salamanders are an important system for studying causes and consequences of genomic gigantism. Previously, we showed that plethodontid salamander genomes accumulate higher levels of long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons than do other vertebrates, although the evolutionary origins of such sequences remained unexplored. We also showed that some salamanders in the family Plethodontidae have relatively slow rates of DNA loss through small insertions and deletions. Here, we present new data from Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, the hellbender. Cryptobranchus and Plethodontidae span the basal phylogenetic split within salamanders; thus, analyses incorporating these taxa can shed light on the genome of the ancestral crown salamander lineage, which underwent expansion. We show that high levels of LTR retrotransposons likely characterize all crown salamanders, suggesting that disproportionate expansion of this transposable element (TE) class contributed to genomic expansion. Phylogenetic and age distribution analyses of salamander LTR retrotransposons indicate that salamanders’ high TE levels reflect persistence and diversification of ancestral TEs rather than horizontal transfer events. Finally, we show that relatively slow DNA loss rates through small indels likely characterize all crown salamanders, suggesting that a decreased DNA loss rate contributed to genomic expansion at the clade’s base. Our identification of shared genomic features across phylogenetically distant salamanders is a first step toward identifying the evolutionary processes underlying accumulation and persistence of high levels of repetitive sequence in salamander genomes. PMID:25115007

  10. Cytogenetics of the Brazilian Bolitoglossa paraensis (Unterstein, 1930) salamanders (Caudata, Plethodontidae)

    PubMed Central

    da Silva, Jéssica Barata; Suárez, Pablo; Nagamachi, Cleusa Yoshiko; Carter, Timothy Frederick; Pieczarka, Julio Cesar

    2014-01-01

    Plethodontid salamanders of genus Bolitoglossa constitute the largest and most diverse group of salamanders, including around 20% of living caudate species. Recent studies have indicated the occurrence of five recognized species in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. We present here the first cytogenetic data of a Brazilian salamander, which may prove to be a useful by contribution to the cytotaxonomy of the genus. Specimens were collected near the “type” locality (Utinga, Belém, PA, Brazil). Chromosomal preparations from duodenal epithelial cells and testes were subjected to Giemsa staining, C-banding and DAPI/CMA3 fluorochrome staining. All specimens showed a karyotype with 13 bi-armed chromosome pairs (2n = 26). Nucleolar Organizer Regions, evidenced by CMA3, were located distally on the long arm of pair 7 (7q). DAPI+ heterochromatin was predominantly centromeric, with some small pericentromeric bands. Although the C-banding patterns of other Bolitoglossa species are so far unknown, cytogenetic studies conducted in other Plethodontid salamanders have demonstrated that pericentromeric heterochromatin is a useful cytological marker for identifying interspecific homeologies. Species diversification is usually accompanied by chromosomal changes. Therefore, the cytogenetic characterization of Bolitoglossa populations from the middle and western Brazilian Amazon Basin could identify differences which may lead to the identification of new species. PMID:25249775

  11. Cytogenetics of the Brazilian Bolitoglossa paraensis (Unterstein, 1930) salamanders (Caudata, Plethodontidae).

    PubMed

    da Silva, Jéssica Barata; Suárez, Pablo; Nagamachi, Cleusa Yoshiko; Carter, Timothy Frederick; Pieczarka, Julio Cesar

    2014-09-01

    Plethodontid salamanders of genus Bolitoglossa constitute the largest and most diverse group of salamanders, including around 20% of living caudate species. Recent studies have indicated the occurrence of five recognized species in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. We present here the first cytogenetic data of a Brazilian salamander, which may prove to be a useful by contribution to the cytotaxonomy of the genus. Specimens were collected near the "type" locality (Utinga, Belém, PA, Brazil). Chromosomal preparations from duodenal epithelial cells and testes were subjected to Giemsa staining, C-banding and DAPI/CMA3 fluorochrome staining. All specimens showed a karyotype with 13 bi-armed chromosome pairs (2n = 26). Nucleolar Organizer Regions, evidenced by CMA3, were located distally on the long arm of pair 7 (7q). DAPI+ heterochromatin was predominantly centromeric, with some small pericentromeric bands. Although the C-banding patterns of other Bolitoglossa species are so far unknown, cytogenetic studies conducted in other Plethodontid salamanders have demonstrated that pericentromeric heterochromatin is a useful cytological marker for identifying interspecific homeologies. Species diversification is usually accompanied by chromosomal changes. Therefore, the cytogenetic characterization of Bolitoglossa populations from the middle and western Brazilian Amazon Basin could identify differences which may lead to the identification of new species. PMID:25249775

  12. Separating Population Structure from Population History: A Cladistic Analysis of the Geographical Distribution of Mitochondrial DNA Haplotypes in the Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma Tigrinum

    PubMed Central

    Templeton, A. R.; Routman, E.; Phillips, C. A.

    1995-01-01

    Nonrandom associations of alleles or haplotypes with geographical location can arise from restricted gene flow, historical events (fragmentation, range expansion, colonization), or any mixture of these factors. In this paper, we show how a nested cladistic analysis of geographical distances can be used to test the null hypothesis of no geographical association of haplotypes, test the hypothesis that significant associations are due to restricted gene flow, and identify patterns of significant association that are due to historical events. In this last case, criteria are given to discriminate among contiguous range expansion, long-distance colonization, and population fragmentation. The ability to make these discriminations depends critically upon an adequate geographical sampling design. These points are illustrated with a worked example: mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum. For this example, prior information exists about restricted gene flow and likely historical events, and the nested cladistic analyses were completely concordant with this prior information. This concordance establishes the plausibility of this nested cladistic approach, but much future work will be necessary to demonstrate robustness and to explore the power and accuracy of this procedure. PMID:7498753

  13. Phylogeography and evolution of the Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).

    PubMed

    Folt, Brian; Garrison, Nicole; Guyer, Craig; Rodriguez, Juanita; Bond, Jason E

    2016-05-01

    Phylogeographic studies frequently result in the elevation of subspecific taxa to species given monophyly, or the synonymy of subspecies that are not monophyletic. However, given limited or incongruent datasets, retention of subspecies can be useful to describe hypothesized incipient species or to illustrate interesting biological phenomena driving morphological diversity. Four subspecific taxa have been used to describe largely allopatric geographic variation within the species Pseudotriton ruber, a plethodontid salamander occupying stream and spring habitats across eastern North America: P. r. vioscai occurs in lowland Coastal Plain habitats, while P. r. ruber, P. r. nitidus, and P. r. schencki occupy upland regions in and around the Appalachian Mountains. Pseudotriton ruber co-occurs through its distribution with the aposematic newt Notophthalmus viridescens, and both species are hypothesized to be part of a Müllerian mimicry complex. In this study, we sequenced regions of two mitochondrial (cytochrome b, NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2) and one single copy nuclear protein-coding gene (pro-opiomelanocortin) from individuals sampled across much of the distribution of P. ruber and then used maximum-likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic inference to test the monophyly of subspecies, reconstruct biogeographic history, and make inferences about morphological evolution. Phylogeographic hypotheses from mitochondrial and nuclear datasets described structure among populations of P. ruber which separated Coastal Plain and upland Appalachian populations, but subspecies were not monophyletic. Biogeographic reconstruction estimated the ancestor of all populations to have occupied and initially diverged in the Coastal Plain during the Pliocene (∼3.6mya), before one lineage subsequently invaded upland areas of Appalachia. Bold bright coloration of high elevation subspecies P. r. nitidus and P. r. schencki appears to have evolved twice. We hypothesize that the Müllerian mimicry

  14. A re-examination and re-evaluation of salamander orbital glands.

    PubMed

    Rehorek, Susan J; Grand-Pierre, Alix E; Cummings, Joshua R; Jewell, Bridgette; Constantine, Julieanne; Hillenius, W Jaap

    2013-11-01

    The amphibian integument contains numerous multicellular glands. Although two of these, the nasolabial and orbital glands and the associated nasolacrimal duct (NLD), have historically received considerable attention, interpretation of the original observations can be problematic in the context of current literature. Salamanders, in particular, are frequently regarded as at least indicative of aspects of the morphology of the common ancestor to all extant tetrapods; hence, an understanding of these glands in salamanders might prove to be informative about their evolution. For this study, the orbitonasal region of salamanders from three families was histologically examined. Three themes emerged: (1) examination of the effect of phylogeny on the nasolabial gland and NLD revealed a combination of features that may be unique to plethodontid salamanders, and may be correlated to their nose-tapping behavior by which substances are moved into the vomeronasal organ; (2) ecology appears to impact the relative development of the orbital glands, but not necessarily the nasolabial gland, with smaller glands being present in the aquatic species; (3) the nomenclature of the salamander orbital gland remains problematic, especially in light of comparative studies, as several alternate possibilities are viable. From this nomenclatural conundrum, however, it could be concluded that there may be a global pattern in the location of tetrapod orbital gland development. Molecular questions in terms of ontogeny and genetic homology affect the nature of the debate on orbital gland nomenclature. These observations suggest that rather than reflecting an ancestral condition, salamanders may instead represent a case of specialized, convergent evolution. PMID:24106029

  15. Variable infection of stream salamanders in the southern Appalachians by the trematode Metagonimoides oregonensis (family: Heterophyidae).

    PubMed

    Wyderko, Jennie A; Benfield, Ernest F; Maerz, John C; Cecala, Kristen C; Belden, Lisa K

    2015-08-01

    Many factors contribute to parasites varying in host specificity and distribution among potential hosts. Metagonimoides oregonensis is a digenetic trematode that uses stream-dwelling plethodontid salamanders as second intermediate hosts in the Eastern US. We completed a field survey to identify which stream salamander species, at a regional level, are most likely to be important for transmission to raccoon definitive hosts. We surveyed six plethodontid species (N = 289 salamanders) from 23 Appalachian headwater sites in North Carolina: Desmognathus quadramaculatus (n = 69), Eurycea wilderae (n = 160), Desmognathus ocoee (n = 31), Desmognathus monticola (n = 3), Eurycea guttolineata (n = 7), and Gyrinophilus porphyriticus (n = 19). We found infection in all species except D. monticola. Further analysis focused on comparing infection in the two most abundant species, D. quadramaculatus and E. wilderae. We found that D. quadramaculatus had significantly higher infection prevalence and intensity, probably due to a longer aquatic larval period and larger body sizes and thus greater cumulative exposure to the parasite. PMID:26026670

  16. Osteological Variation among Extreme Morphological Forms in the Mexican Salamander Genus Chiropterotriton (Amphibia: Plethodontidae): Morphological Evolution And Homoplasy

    PubMed Central

    Darda, David M.; Wake, David B.

    2015-01-01

    Osteological variation is recorded among and within four of the most distinctive species of the Mexican salamander genus Chiropterotriton. Analysis of the data is consistent with the monophyletic status of the genus and documents previously unrecorded intraspecific and interspecific variation. Most of the recorded variation involves qualitative and quantitative proportional differences, but four fixed differences constitute autapomorphic states that affirm and diagnose some species (C. dimidiatus, C. magnipes). Osteological variation in 15 characters is analyzed with respect to predictions generated from four hypotheses: 1) phylogeny, 2) adaptation to specific habitats (the four species include cave-dwelling, terrestrial, and arboreal forms), 3) size-free shape, and 4) size. High levels of intraspecific variation suggest that the characters studied are not subject to rigid functional constraints in salamanders, regardless of size. The pattern predicted by the hypothesis based on size differences seen among these four Chiropterotriton species matches most closely the observed pattern of relative skull robustness. Since size change and heterochrony are often associated in plethodontid evolution, it is likely that changes in developmental timing play a role in the morphological transitions among these morphologically diverse taxa. Webbed feet, miniaturization, body shape, and an unusual tarsal arrangement are morphologies exhibited in species of Chiropterotrition that are shown to be homoplastic with other clades of tropical plethodontids. Although extensive homoplasy in salamanders might be seen as a roadblock to unraveling phylogenetic hypotheses, the homologous developmental systems that appear to underlie such homoplasy may reveal common and consistent evolutionary processes at work. PMID:26060996

  17. Osteological Variation among Extreme Morphological Forms in the Mexican Salamander Genus Chiropterotriton (Amphibia: Plethodontidae): Morphological Evolution And Homoplasy.

    PubMed

    Darda, David M; Wake, David B

    2015-01-01

    Osteological variation is recorded among and within four of the most distinctive species of the Mexican salamander genus Chiropterotriton. Analysis of the data is consistent with the monophyletic status of the genus and documents previously unrecorded intraspecific and interspecific variation. Most of the recorded variation involves qualitative and quantitative proportional differences, but four fixed differences constitute autapomorphic states that affirm and diagnose some species (C. dimidiatus, C. magnipes). Osteological variation in 15 characters is analyzed with respect to predictions generated from four hypotheses: 1) phylogeny, 2) adaptation to specific habitats (the four species include cave-dwelling, terrestrial, and arboreal forms), 3) size-free shape, and 4) size. High levels of intraspecific variation suggest that the characters studied are not subject to rigid functional constraints in salamanders, regardless of size. The pattern predicted by the hypothesis based on size differences seen among these four Chiropterotriton species matches most closely the observed pattern of relative skull robustness. Since size change and heterochrony are often associated in plethodontid evolution, it is likely that changes in developmental timing play a role in the morphological transitions among these morphologically diverse taxa. Webbed feet, miniaturization, body shape, and an unusual tarsal arrangement are morphologies exhibited in species of Chiropterotrition that are shown to be homoplastic with other clades of tropical plethodontids. Although extensive homoplasy in salamanders might be seen as a roadblock to unraveling phylogenetic hypotheses, the homologous developmental systems that appear to underlie such homoplasy may reveal common and consistent evolutionary processes at work. PMID:26060996

  18. Stoichiometry of a semi-aquatic plethodontid salamander: Intraspecific variation due to location, size and diet

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecological stoichiometry provides a framework to investigate an organism's relationship to nutrient cycles. An organism's stoichiometry is thought to constrain its contribution to nutrient cycles (recycling or storage), and to limit its growth and reproduction. Factors that influ...

  19. Evolution of Gigantism in Amphiumid Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Bonett, Ronald M.; Chippindale, Paul T.; Moler, Paul E.; Van Devender, R. Wayne; Wake, David B.

    2009-01-01

    The Amphiumidae contains three species of elongate, permanently aquatic salamanders with four diminutive limbs that append one, two, or three toes. Two of the species, Amphiuma means and A. tridactylum, are among the largest salamanders in the world, reaching lengths of more than one meter, whereas the third species (A. pholeter), extinct amphiumids, and closely related salamander families are relatively small. Amphiuma means and A. tridactylum are widespread species and live in a wide range of lowland aquatic habitats on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States, whereas A. pholeter is restricted to very specialized organic muck habitats and is syntopic with A. means. Here we present analyses of sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear loci from across the distribution of the three taxa to assess lineage diversity, relationships, and relative timing of divergence in amphiumid salamanders. In addition we analyze the evolution of gigantism in the clade. Our analyses indicate three lineages that have diverged since the late Miocene, that correspond to the three currently recognized species, but the two gigantic species are not each other's closest relatives. Given that the most closely related salamander families and fossil amphiumids from the Upper Cretaceous and Paleocene are relatively small, our results suggest at least two extreme changes in body size within the Amphuimidae. Gigantic body size either evolved once as the ancestral condition of modern amphiumas, with a subsequent strong size reduction in A. pholeter, or gigantism independently evolved twice in the modern species, A. means and A. tridactylum. These patterns are concordant with differences in habitat breadth and range size among lineages, and have implications for reproductive isolation and diversification of amphiumid salamanders. PMID:19461997

  20. Lagged influence of North Atlantic Oscillation on population dynamics of a Mediterranean terrestrial salamander.

    PubMed

    Salvidio, Sebastiano; Oneto, Fabrizio; Ottonello, Dario; Pastorino, Mauro V

    2016-04-01

    The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale climatic pattern that strongly influences the atmospheric circulation in the northern Hemisphere and by consequence the long-term variability of marine and terrestrial ecosystem over great part of northern Europe and western Mediterranean. In the Mediterranean, the effects of the NAO on vertebrates has been studied mainly on bird populations but was rarely analysed in ectothermic animals, and in particular in amphibians. In this study, we investigated the relationships between winter, spring and summer NAO indexes and the long-term population dynamics of the plethodontid salamander Speleomantes strinatii. This terrestrial salamander was monitored inside an artificial cave in NW Italy for 24 consecutive years. The relationships between seasonal NAO indexes and the salamander dynamics were assessed by cross-correlation function (CCF) analysis, after prewhitening the time series by autoregressive moving average statistical modelling. Results of CCF analyses indicated that the salamander abundance varied in relation to the one-year ahead winter NAO (P = 0.018), while no relationships were found with spring and summer indexes. These results strengthen some previous findings that suggested a high sensitivity of temperate terrestrial amphibians to wintertime climatic conditions. PMID:26160231

  1. Lagged influence of North Atlantic Oscillation on population dynamics of a Mediterranean terrestrial salamander

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvidio, Sebastiano; Oneto, Fabrizio; Ottonello, Dario; Pastorino, Mauro V.

    2016-04-01

    The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale climatic pattern that strongly influences the atmospheric circulation in the northern Hemisphere and by consequence the long-term variability of marine and terrestrial ecosystem over great part of northern Europe and western Mediterranean. In the Mediterranean, the effects of the NAO on vertebrates has been studied mainly on bird populations but was rarely analysed in ectothermic animals, and in particular in amphibians. In this study, we investigated the relationships between winter, spring and summer NAO indexes and the long-term population dynamics of the plethodontid salamander Speleomantes strinatii. This terrestrial salamander was monitored inside an artificial cave in NW Italy for 24 consecutive years. The relationships between seasonal NAO indexes and the salamander dynamics were assessed by cross-correlation function (CCF) analysis, after prewhitening the time series by autoregressive moving average statistical modelling. Results of CCF analyses indicated that the salamander abundance varied in relation to the one-year ahead winter NAO ( P = 0.018), while no relationships were found with spring and summer indexes. These results strengthen some previous findings that suggested a high sensitivity of temperate terrestrial amphibians to wintertime climatic conditions.

  2. Population dynamics and regulation in the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvidio, Sebastiano

    2007-05-01

    Time series analysis has been used to evaluate the mechanisms regulating population dynamics of mammals and insects, but has been rarely applied to amphibian populations. In this study, the influence of endogenous (density-dependent) and exogenous (density-independent) factors regulating population dynamics of the terrestrial plethodontid salamander Speleomantes strinatii was analysed by means of time series and multiple regression analyses. During the period 1993 2005, S. strinatii population abundance, estimated by a standardised temporary removal method, displayed relatively low fluctuations, and the autocorrelation function (ACF) analysis showed that the time series had a noncyclic structure. The partial rate correlation function (PRCF) indicated that a strong first-order negative feedback dominated the endogenous dynamics. Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that the only climatic factor influencing population growth rate was the minimum winter temperature. Thus, at least during the study period, endogenous, density-dependent negative feedback was the main factor affecting the growth rate of the salamander population, whereas stochastic environmental variables, such as temperature and rainfall, seemed to play a minor role in regulation. These results stress the importance of considering both exogenous and endogenous factors when analysing amphibian long-term population dynamics.

  3. Fluctuations in a metapopulation of nesting four-toed salamanders, Hemidactylium scutatum, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA, 1999-2003

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corser, J.D.; Dodd, C.K., Jr.

    2004-01-01

    We tested two predictions associated with the hypothesis that certain populations of pond-breeding amphibians are structured into metapopulations using minimum relative abundance estimates of nesting four-toed salamanders (Hemidactylium scutatum Schlegel) from 11 different ponds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Coefficients of variation (CV) for counts at individual ponds ranged from 0.25 to 1.26, and the overall mean CV at all 11 ponds was 0.34. Many pairs of ponds had negative correlations in abundance from 1999-2003, whereas others had various degrees of positive correlation (mean r = 0.29). Thus, nesting population size fluctuated semi-independently among the ponds from year to year, inferring the existence of inter-pond dispersal. The mean number of nesting females at a pond was negatively, but non-significantly, correlated (r = -0.27; P = 0.40; 10 d.f.) to the pond's isolation. Owing to physiological constraints on plethodontid salamander energetics, precipitation during the nesting season (February and March) appeared to play an important role (r = 0.78; P = 0.12; 4 d.f.) in the number of nesting females we observed. Unlike some other plethodontid salamander populations in more fragmented southern Appalachian forest ecosystems, this (meta)population within Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not appear to be declining.

  4. Co-option and evolution of non-olfactory proteinaceous pheromones in a terrestrial lungless salamander.

    PubMed

    Doty, Kari A; Wilburn, Damien B; Bowen, Kathleen E; Feldhoff, Pamela W; Feldhoff, Richard C

    2016-03-01

    Gene co-option is a major force in the evolution of novel biological functions. In plethodontid salamanders, males deliver proteinaceous courtship pheromones to the female olfactory system or transdermally to the bloodstream. Molecular studies identified three families of highly duplicated, rapidly evolving pheromones (PRF, PMF, and SPF). Analyses for Plethodon salamanders revealed pheromone mixtures of primarily PRF and PMF. The current study demonstrates that in Desmognathus ocoee--a plesiomorphic species with transdermal delivery--SPF is the major pheromone component representing >30% of total protein. Chromatographic profiles of D. ocoee pheromones were consistent from May through October. LC/MS-MS analysis suggested uniform SPF isoform expression between individual male D. ocoee. A gene ancestry for SPF with the Three-Finger Protein superfamily was supported by intron-exon boundaries, but not by the disulfide bonding pattern. Further analysis of the pheromone mixture revealed paralogs to peptide hormones that contained mutations in receptor binding regions, such that these novel molecules may alter female physiology by acting as hormone agonists/antagonists. Cumulatively, gene co-option, duplication, and neofunctionalization have permitted recruitment of additional gene families for pheromone activity. Such independent co-option events may be playing a key role in salamander speciation by altering male traits that influence reproductive success. PMID:26385001

  5. Conservation genetics of extremely isolated urban populations of the northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) in New York City

    PubMed Central

    Zak, Yana; Pehek, Ellen

    2013-01-01

    Urbanization is a major cause of amphibian decline. Stream-dwelling plethodontid salamanders are particularly susceptible to urbanization due to declining water quality and hydrological changes, but few studies have examined these taxa in cities. The northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) was once common in the New York City metropolitan area, but has substantially declined throughout the region in recent decades. We used five tetranucleotide microsatellite loci to examine population differentiation, genetic variation, and bottlenecks among five remnant urban populations of dusky salamanders in NYC. These genetic measures provide information on isolation, prevalence of inbreeding, long-term prospects for population persistence, and potential for evolutionary responses to future environmental change. All populations were genetically differentiated from each other, and the most isolated populations in Manhattan have maintained very little genetic variation (i.e. <20% heterozygosity). A majority of the populations also exhibited evidence of genetic bottlenecks. These findings contrast with published estimates of high genetic variation within and lack of structure between populations of other desmognathine salamanders sampled over similar or larger spatial scales. Declines in genetic variation likely resulted from population extirpations and the degradation of stream and terrestrial paths for dispersal in NYC. Loss of genetic variability in populations isolated by human development may be an underappreciated cause and/or consequence of the decline of this species in urbanized areas of the northeast USA. PMID:23646283

  6. Conservation genetics of extremely isolated urban populations of the northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) in New York City.

    PubMed

    Munshi-South, Jason; Zak, Yana; Pehek, Ellen

    2013-01-01

    Urbanization is a major cause of amphibian decline. Stream-dwelling plethodontid salamanders are particularly susceptible to urbanization due to declining water quality and hydrological changes, but few studies have examined these taxa in cities. The northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) was once common in the New York City metropolitan area, but has substantially declined throughout the region in recent decades. We used five tetranucleotide microsatellite loci to examine population differentiation, genetic variation, and bottlenecks among five remnant urban populations of dusky salamanders in NYC. These genetic measures provide information on isolation, prevalence of inbreeding, long-term prospects for population persistence, and potential for evolutionary responses to future environmental change. All populations were genetically differentiated from each other, and the most isolated populations in Manhattan have maintained very little genetic variation (i.e. <20% heterozygosity). A majority of the populations also exhibited evidence of genetic bottlenecks. These findings contrast with published estimates of high genetic variation within and lack of structure between populations of other desmognathine salamanders sampled over similar or larger spatial scales. Declines in genetic variation likely resulted from population extirpations and the degradation of stream and terrestrial paths for dispersal in NYC. Loss of genetic variability in populations isolated by human development may be an underappreciated cause and/or consequence of the decline of this species in urbanized areas of the northeast USA. PMID:23646283

  7. Phylogenetic history underlies elevational biodiversity patterns in tropical salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Wiens, John J; Parra-Olea, Gabriela; García-París, Mario; Wake, David B

    2007-01-01

    Elevational variation in species richness is ubiquitous and important for conservation, but remains poorly explained. Numerous studies have documented higher species richness at mid-elevations, but none have addressed the underlying evolutionary and biogeographic processes that ultimately explain this pattern (i.e. speciation, extinction and dispersal). Here, we address the evolutionary causes of the mid-elevational diversity hump in the most species-rich clade of salamanders, the tropical bolitoglossine plethodontids. We present a new phylogeny for the group based on DNA sequences from all 13 genera and 137 species. Using this phylogeny, we find no relationship between rates of diversification of clades and their elevational distribution, and no evidence for a rapid ‘species pump’ in tropical montane regions. Instead, we find a strong relationship between the number of species in each elevational zone and the estimated time when each elevational band was first colonized. Mid-elevation habitats were colonized early in the phylogenetic history of bolitoglossines, and given similar rates of diversification across elevations, more species have accumulated in the elevational zones that were inhabited the longest. This pattern may be widespread and suggests that mid-elevation habitats may not only harbour more species, but may also contain more phylogenetic diversity than other habitats within a region. PMID:17284409

  8. What explains patterns of species richness? The relative importance of climatic-niche evolution, morphological evolution, and ecological limits in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Kozak, Kenneth H; Wiens, John J

    2016-08-01

    A major goal of evolutionary biology and ecology is to understand why species richness varies among clades. Previous studies have suggested that variation in richness among clades might be related to variation in rates of morphological evolution among clades (e.g., body size and shape). Other studies have suggested that richness patterns might be related to variation in rates of climatic-niche evolution. However, few studies, if any, have tested the relative importance of these variables in explaining patterns of richness among clades. Here, we test their relative importance among major clades of Plethodontidae, the most species-rich family of salamanders. Earlier studies have suggested that climatic-niche evolution explains patterns of diversification among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. A subsequent study stated that rates of morphological evolution instead explained patterns of species richness among plethodontid clades (along with "ecological limits" on richness of clades, leading to saturation of clades with species, given limited resources). However, they did not consider climatic-niche evolution. Using phylogenetic multiple regression, we show that rates of climatic-niche evolution explain most variation in richness among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. We find little evidence that ecological limits explain patterns of richness among plethodontid clades. We also test whether rates of morphological and climatic-niche evolution are correlated, and find that they are not. Overall, our results help explain richness patterns in a major amphibian group and provide possibly the first test of the relative importance of climatic niches and morphological evolution in explaining diversity patterns. PMID:27547367

  9. Side-by-side secretion of Late Palaeozoic diverged courtship pheromones in an aquatic salamander.

    PubMed

    Van Bocxlaer, Ines; Treer, Dag; Maex, Margo; Vandebergh, Wim; Janssenswillen, Sunita; Stegen, Gwij; Kok, Philippe; Willaert, Bert; Matthijs, Severine; Martens, Erik; Mortier, Anneleen; de Greve, Henri; Proost, Paul; Bossuyt, Franky

    2015-03-22

    Males of the advanced salamanders (Salamandroidea) attain internal fertilization without a copulatory organ by depositing a spermatophore on the substrate in the environment, which females subsequently take up with their cloaca. The aquatically reproducing modern Eurasian newts (Salamandridae) have taken this to extremes, because most species do not display close physical contact during courtship, but instead largely rely on females following the male track at spermatophore deposition. Although pheromones have been widely assumed to represent an important aspect of male courtship, molecules able to induce the female following behaviour that is the prelude for successful insemination have not yet been identified. Here, we show that uncleaved sodefrin precursor-like factor (SPF) protein pheromones are sufficient to elicit such behaviour in female palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus). Combined transcriptomic and proteomic evidence shows that males simultaneously tail-fan multiple ca 20 kDa glycosylated SPF proteins during courtship. Notably, molecular dating estimates show that the diversification of these proteins already started in the late Palaeozoic, about 300 million years ago. Our study thus not only extends the use of uncleaved SPF proteins outside terrestrially reproducing plethodontid salamanders, but also reveals one of the oldest vertebrate pheromone systems. PMID:25694622

  10. Cold-blooded snipers: thermal independence of ballistic tongue projection in the salamander Hydromantes platycephalus.

    PubMed

    Deban, Stephen M; Richardson, Jason C

    2011-12-01

    Plethodontid salamanders of the genus Hydromantes capture prey using the most extreme tongue projection among salamanders, and can shoot the tongue a distance of 80% of body length in less than 20 msec. The tongue skeleton is projected from the body via an elastic-recoil mechanism that decouples muscle contraction from tongue projection, amplifying muscle power tenfold. We tested the hypothesis that the elastic-recoil mechanism also endows tongue projection with low thermal dependence by examining the kinematics and dynamics of tongue projection in Hydromantes platycephalus over a range of body temperatures (2-24°C). We found that H. platycephalus maintained tongue-projection performance over the tested temperature range and that tongue projection showed thermal independence (Q(10) values of 0.94-1.04) of all performance parameters including projection distance, average velocity, and peak instantaneous values of velocity, acceleration, and power. Nonelastic, muscle-powered tongue retraction, in contrast, responded to temperature changes significantly differently than elastic tongue projection; performance parameters of retraction displayed thermal dependence typical of muscle-powered movement (Q(10) values of 1.63-4.97). These results reveal that the elastic-recoil mechanism liberates tongue projection from the effects of temperature on muscle contractile rates. We suggest that relative thermal independence is a general characteristic of elastic-recoil mechanisms and may promote the evolution of these mechanisms in ectothermic animals. PMID:21953778

  11. Landmark learning by juvenile salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).

    PubMed

    Heuring, Whitney L; Mathis, Alicia

    2014-10-01

    Learning to use a landmark as a beacon to locate resources is one of the simplest forms of spatial learning. We tested whether landmark learning occurs in a semifossorial salamander that migrates annually to breeding ponds as adults. Juvenile spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) were tested in square containers with a plastic feeding dish in each corner, and a piece of earthworm was placed in one randomly-chosen dish. For landmark-trained salamanders, a rock was placed beside the dish containing the prey. For control salamanders, the rock was placed beside a randomly selected feeding dish. Each salamander was trained once every 2 days for 30 days. Significantly more landmark-trained salamanders than control salamanders entered the landmark area first, and landmark-trained individuals had faster latencies to enter the landmark area and longer stay-times. These results suggest that spotted salamanders are able to locate resources by associating their positions with landmarks. PMID:25444775

  12. Fine-Scale Habitat Associations of a Terrestrial Salamander: The Role of Environmental Gradients and Implications for Population Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Peterman, William E.; Semlitsch, Raymond D.

    2013-01-01

    Environmental gradients are instrumental in shaping the distribution and local abundance of species because at the most fundamental level, an organism’s performance is constrained by the environment it inhabits. In topographically complex landscapes, slope, aspect, and vegetative cover interact to affect solar exposure, creating temperature-moisture gradients and unique microclimates. The significance of the interaction of abiotic gradients and biotic factors such as competition, movement, or physiology has long been recognized, but the scale at which these factors vary on the landscape has generally precluded their inclusion in spatial abundance models. We used fine-scale spatial data relating to surface-soil moisture, temperature, and canopy cover to describe the spatial distribution of abundance of a terrestrial salamander, Plethodon albagula, across the landscape. Abundance was greatest in dense-canopy ravine habitats with high moisture and low solar exposure, resulting in a patchy distribution of abundance. We hypothesize that these patterns reflect the physiological constraints of Plethodontid salamanders. Furthermore, demographic cohorts were not uniformly distributed among occupied plots on the landscape. The probability of gravid female occurrence was nearly uniform among occupied plots, but juveniles were much more likely to occur on plots with lower surface temperatures. The disconnect between reproductive effort and recruitment suggests that survival differs across the landscape and that local population dynamics vary spatially. Our study demonstrates a connection between abundance, fine-scale environmental gradients, and population dynamics, providing a foundation for future research concerning movement, population connectivity, and physiology. PMID:23671586

  13. Fine-scale habitat associations of a terrestrial salamander: the role of environmental gradients and implications for population dynamics.

    PubMed

    Peterman, William E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2013-01-01

    Environmental gradients are instrumental in shaping the distribution and local abundance of species because at the most fundamental level, an organism's performance is constrained by the environment it inhabits. In topographically complex landscapes, slope, aspect, and vegetative cover interact to affect solar exposure, creating temperature-moisture gradients and unique microclimates. The significance of the interaction of abiotic gradients and biotic factors such as competition, movement, or physiology has long been recognized, but the scale at which these factors vary on the landscape has generally precluded their inclusion in spatial abundance models. We used fine-scale spatial data relating to surface-soil moisture, temperature, and canopy cover to describe the spatial distribution of abundance of a terrestrial salamander, Plethodon albagula, across the landscape. Abundance was greatest in dense-canopy ravine habitats with high moisture and low solar exposure, resulting in a patchy distribution of abundance. We hypothesize that these patterns reflect the physiological constraints of Plethodontid salamanders. Furthermore, demographic cohorts were not uniformly distributed among occupied plots on the landscape. The probability of gravid female occurrence was nearly uniform among occupied plots, but juveniles were much more likely to occur on plots with lower surface temperatures. The disconnect between reproductive effort and recruitment suggests that survival differs across the landscape and that local population dynamics vary spatially. Our study demonstrates a connection between abundance, fine-scale environmental gradients, and population dynamics, providing a foundation for future research concerning movement, population connectivity, and physiology. PMID:23671586

  14. "ANEIDES AENEUS" (GREEN SALAMANDER). DISPERSAL

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Aneides aeneus inhabits cliffs and rockface outcrops at elevations <1340 m in mountainous forests from southwestern Pennsylvania to extreme northeastern Mississippi (Petranka 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 587pp). Populations are ...

  15. Early Miocene origin and cryptic diversification of South American salamanders

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The currently recognized species richness of South American salamanders is surprisingly low compared to North and Central America. In part, this low richness may be due to the salamanders being a recent arrival to South America. Additionally, the number of South American salamander species may be underestimated because of cryptic diversity. The aims of our present study were to infer evolutionary relationships, lineage diversity, and timing of divergence of the South American Bolitoglossa using mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data from specimens primarily from localities in the Andes and upper Amazon Basin. We also estimated time of colonization of South America to test whether it is consistent with arrival via the Panamanian Isthmus, or land bridge connection, at its traditionally assumed age of 3 million years. Results Divergence time estimates suggest that Bolitoglossa arrived in South America from Central America by at least the Early Miocene, ca. 23.6 MYA (95% HPD 15.9-30.3 MYA), and subsequently diversified. South American salamanders of the genus Bolitoglossa show strong phylogeographic structure at fine geographic scales and deep divergences at the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b (Cytb) and high diversity at the nuclear recombination activating gene-1 (Rag1). Species often contain multiple genetically divergent lineages that are occasionally geographically overlapping. Single specimens from two southeastern localities in Ecuador are sister to the equatoriana-peruviana clade and genetically distinct from all other species investigated to date. Another single exemplar from the Andes of northwestern Ecuador is highly divergent from all other specimens and is sister to all newly studied samples. Nevertheless, all sampled species of South American Bolitoglossa are members of a single clade that is one of several constituting the subgenus Eladinea, one of seven subgenera in this large genus. Conclusions The ancestors of South American salamanders

  16. 'Salamander plague' on Britain's doorstep.

    PubMed

    Mills, Georgina

    2015-01-24

    Chytridiomycosis can cause mass declines in amphibians, and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is the classic cause of this disease. However, recently, a second strain of chytrid fungus has emerged in Europe, resulting in major declines in fire salamanders. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) discussed this, and the implications for the UK, at a meeting in December in London. Georgina Mills reports. PMID:25614547

  17. Earliest known crown-group salamanders.

    PubMed

    Gao, Ke-Qin; Shubin, Neil H

    2003-03-27

    Salamanders are a model system for studying the rates and patterns of the evolution of new anatomical structures. Recent discoveries of abundant Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous salamanders are helping to address these issues. Here we report the discovery of well-preserved Middle Jurassic salamanders from China, which constitutes the earliest known record of crown-group urodeles (living salamanders and their closest relatives). The new specimens are from the volcanic deposits of the Jiulongshan Formation (Bathonian), Inner Mongolia, China, and represent basal members of the Cryptobranchidae, a family that includes the endangered Asian giant salamander (Andrias) and the North American hellbender (Cryptobranchus). These fossils document a Mesozoic record of the Cryptobranchidae, predating the previous record of the group by some 100 million years. This discovery provides evidence to support the hypothesis that the divergence of the Cryptobranchidae from the Hynobiidae had taken place in Asia before the Middle Jurassic period. PMID:12660782

  18. Ambystoma maculatum (spotted salamander). Reproduction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Glorioso, Brad M.; Waddle, Hardin; Hefner, Jeromi

    2012-01-01

    The Spotted Salamander is a wide-ranging salamander of the eastern United States that typically breeds in winter or early spring in ephemeral pools in lowland forests. Ambystoma maculatum is known to deposit 2-4 egg masses per year, each containing 1-250 eggs. As part of ongoing research into the ecology and reproductive biology of Spotted Salamanders in the Kisatchie District of Kisatchie National Forest in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, USA, we have been counting the number of embryos per egg mass. We captured seven female A. maculatum in a small pool, six of which were still gravid. We took standard measurements, including SVL, and then implanted a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT tag) into each adult female as was the protocol. About an hour after processing these animals we marked new A. maculatum egg masses found in the same small pool using PVC pin flags pushed carefully through the outer jelly. We did not have enough time to process them that evening, and it was not until a few days later that we photographed those masses. We discovered that one of the masses contained a PIT tag in the outer jelly that corresponded to one of the six gravid females that were marked that same evening. To our knowledge, this is the first report of PIT tags being the means, albeit coincidentally, by which a particular egg mass of Ambystoma maculatum has been assigned to a particular female. For our purposes, losing the PIT tag from the adult female is counter to the goals of our study of this population, and we will no longer be implanting PIT tags into gravid females.

  19. Late Jurassic salamanders from northern China.

    PubMed

    Gao, K Q; Shubin, N H

    2001-03-29

    With ten extant families, salamanders (urodeles) are one of the three major groups of modern amphibians (lissamphibians). Extant salamanders are often used as a model system to assess fundamental issues of developmental, morphological and biogeographical evolution. Unfortunately, our understanding of these issues has been hampered by the paucity of fossil evidence available to assess the early history of the group. Here we report the discovery of an extraordinary sample of salamander fossils, some with rare soft-tissue impressions, from the Upper Jurassic of China. With over 500 articulated specimens, this assemblage documents the morphological diversity of early urodeles and includes larvae and adults of both neotenic and metamorphosed taxa. Phylogenetic analysis confirms that these salamanders are primitive, and reveals that all basal salamander clades have Asian distributions. This is compelling evidence for an Asian origin of Recent salamanders, as well as for an extensive and early radiation of several major lineages. These discoveries show that the evolution of salamanders has involved phylogenetic and ecological diversification around a body plan that has remained fundamentally stable for over 150 million years. PMID:11279493

  20. Phylogeographic concordance in the southeastern United States: the flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, as a test case.

    PubMed

    Pauly, Gregory B; Piskurek, Oliver; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2007-01-01

    Well-supported, congruent phylogeographic and biogeographic patterns permit the development of a priori phylogeographic and distributional predictions. In the southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States, the common discovery of east-west disjunctions (phylogeographic breaks and species' distributional boundaries) suggests that similar disjunctions should occur in codistributed taxa. Despite the near ubiquity of these disjunctions, the most recent morphological analyses of the flatwoods salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum, indicate that none occur in this low-vagility, Coastal Plain endemic. We conducted molecular and morphological analyses to test whether the flatwoods salamander is an exception to this common biogeographic pattern. Assessing geographic variation in this species is also an important management tool for this threatened, declining amphibian. We demonstrate that flatwoods salamanders, as predicted by comparisons to codistributed taxa, are polytypic with a major disjunction at the Apalachicola River. This drainage is a common site for east-west phylogeographic breaks, probably because repeated marine embayments during the Pliocene and Pleistocene interglacials generated barriers to gene flow. Based on mitochondrial DNA, morphology, and allozymes, we recognize two species of flatwoods salamanders -- Ambystoma cingulatum to the east of the Apalachicola drainage and Ambystoma bishopi to the west. Given this increased diversity, the conservation status of these two taxa may warrant re-evaluation. More generally, these results emphasize that in the absence of taxon-specific data, established comparative patterns can provide strong expectations for designing management units for unstudied species of conservation concern. PMID:17217354

  1. Phylogeny, evolution, and biogeography of Asiatic Salamanders (Hynobiidae)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Peng; Chen, Yue-Qin; Zhou, Hui; Liu, Yi-Fei; Wang, Xiu-Ling; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Wake, David B.; Qu, Liang-Hu

    2006-01-01

    We sequenced 15 complete mitochondrial genomes and performed comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analyses to study the origin and phylogeny of the Hynobiidae, an ancient lineage of living salamanders. Our phylogenetic analyses show that the Hynobiidae is a clade with well resolved relationships, and our results contrast with a morphology-based phylogenetic hypothesis. These salamanders have low vagility and are limited in their distribution primarily by deserts, mountains, and oceans. Our analysis suggests that the relationships among living hynobiids have been shaped primarily by geography. We show that four-toed species assigned to Batrachuperus do not form a monophyletic group, and those that occur in Afghanistan and Iran are transferred to the resurrected Paradactylodon. Convergent morphological characters in different hynobiid lineages are likely produced by similar environmental selective pressures. Clock-independent molecular dating suggests that hynobiids originated in the Middle Cretaceous [≈110 million years ago (Mya)]. We propose an “out of North China” hypothesis for hynobiid origins and hypothesize an ancestral stream-adapted form. Given the particular distributional patterns and our molecular dating estimates, we hypothesize that: (i) the interior desertification from Mongolia to Western Asia began ≈50 Mya; (ii) the Tibetan plateau (at least on the eastern fringe) experienced rapid uplift ≈40 Mya and reached an altitude of at least 2,500 m; and (iii) the Ailao–Red River shear zone underwent the most intense orogenic movement ≈24 Mya. PMID:16648252

  2. Conservation assessment for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander and Scott Bar salamander in northern California.

    SciTech Connect

    Vinikour, W. S.; LaGory, K. E.; Adduci, J. J.; Environmental Science Division

    2006-10-20

    The purpose of this conservation assessment is to summarize existing knowledge regarding the biology and ecology of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander and Scott Bar salamander, identify threats to the two species, and identify conservation considerations to aid federal management for persistence of the species. The conservation assessment will serve as the basis for a conservation strategy for the species.

  3. ARE SALAMANDERS USEFUL INDICATORS OF HYDROLOGIC PERMANENCE IN HEADWATER STREAMS?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Regulatory agencies need appropriate indicators of stream permanence to aid in jurisdictional determinations for headwater streams. We evaluated salamanders as permanence indicators because they are often abundant in fishless headwaters. Salamander and habitat data were collect...

  4. Extreme Performance and Functional Robustness of Movement are Linked to Muscle Architecture: Comparing Elastic and Nonelastic Feeding Movements in Salamanders.

    PubMed

    Scales, Jeffrey A; Stinson, Charlotte M; Deban, Stephen M

    2016-07-01

    Muscle-powered movements are limited by the contractile properties of muscles and are sensitive to temperature changes. Elastic-recoil mechanisms can both increase performance and mitigate the effects of temperature on performance. Here, we compare feeding movements in two species of plethodontid salamanders, Bolitoglossa franklini and Desmognathus quadramaculatus, across a range of body temperatures (5-25°C) to better understand the mechanism of elastically powered, thermally robust movements. Bolitoglossa exhibited ballistic, elastically powered tongue projection with a maximum muscle mass specific power of 4,642 W kg(-1) while Desmognathus demonstrated nonballistic, muscle-powered tongue projection with a maximum power of 359 W kg(-1) . Tongue-projection performance in Bolitoglossa was more thermally robust than that of Desmognathus, especially below 15°C. The improved performance and thermal robustness of Bolitoglossa was associated with morphological changes in the projector muscle, including elaborated collagen aponeuroses and the absence of myofibers attaching directly to the tongue skeleton. The elongated aponeuroses likely increase the capacity for elastic energy storage, and the lack of myofibers inserting on the tongue skeleton permits ballistic projection. These results suggest that relatively simple changes in myofiber architecture and the amount of connective tissue can improve the performance and functional robustness of movements in the face of environmental challenges such as variable temperature. PMID:27320361

  5. Dynamics and thermal sensitivity of ballistic and non-ballistic feeding in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Deban, Stephen M; Scales, Jeffrey A

    2016-02-01

    Low temperature reduces the performance of muscle-powered movements, but in movements powered by elastic recoil mechanisms, this effect can be mitigated and performance can be increased. To better understand the morphological basis of high performance and thermal robustness of elastically powered movements, we compared feeding dynamics at a range of temperatures (5-25°C) in two species of terrestrial plethodontid salamanders, Plethodon metcalfi and Ensatina eschscholtzii, which differ in tongue muscle architecture and the mechanism of tongue projection. We found that Ensatina is capable of ballistic projection with a mean muscle mass-specific power of 2100 W kg(-1), revealing an elastic mechanism. Plethodon, in contrast, projected its tongue non-ballistically with a mean power of only 18 W kg(-1), indicating it is muscle powered. Ensatina projected its tongue significantly farther than Plethodon and with dynamics that had significantly lower thermal sensitivity at temperatures below 15°C. These performance differences were correlated with morphological differences, namely elongated collagenous aponeuroses in the projector muscle of Ensatina as compared with Plethodon, which are likely the site of energy storage, and the absence in Ensatina of projector muscle fibers attaching to the tongue skeleton that allows projection to be truly ballistic. These findings demonstrate that, in these otherwise similar species, the presence in one species of elaborated connective tissue in series with myofibers confers not only 10-fold greater absolute performance but also greater thermal robustness of performance. We conclude that changes in muscle and connective tissue architecture are sufficient to alter significantly the mechanics, performance and thermal robustness of musculoskeletal systems. PMID:26612894

  6. Ontogenetic convergence and evolution of foot morphology in European cave salamanders (Family: Plethodontidae)

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background A major goal in evolutionary biology is to understand the evolution of phenotypic diversity. Both natural and sexual selection play a large role in generating phenotypic adaptations, with biomechanical requirements and developmental mechanisms mediating patterns of phenotypic evolution. For many traits, the relative importance of selective and developmental components remains understudied. Results We investigated ontogenetic trajectories of foot morphology in the eight species of European plethodontid cave salamander to test the hypothesis that adult foot morphology was adapted for climbing. Using geometric morphometrics and other approaches, we found that developmental patterns in five species displayed little morphological change during growth (isometry), where the extensive interdigital webbing in adults was best explained as the retention of the juvenile morphological state. By contrast, three species exhibited significant allometry, with an increase in interdigital webbing during growth. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that multiple evolutionary transitions between isometry and allometry of foot webbing have occurred in this lineage. Allometric parameters of foot growth were most similar to those of a tropical species previously shown to be adapted for climbing. Finally, interspecific variation in adult foot morphology was significantly reduced as compared to variation among juveniles, indicating that ontogenetic convergence had resulted in a common adult foot morphology across species. Conclusions The results presented here provide evidence of a complex history of phenotypic evolution in this clade. The common adult phenotype exhibited among species reveals that selection plays an important part in generating patterns of foot diversity in the group. However, developmental trajectories arriving at this common morphology are distinct; with some species displaying developmental stasis (isometry), while others show an increase in foot webbing during

  7. Biodiversity of Costa Rican salamanders: Implications of high levels of genetic differentiation and phylogeographic structure for species formation

    PubMed Central

    García-París, Mario; Good, David A.; Parra-Olea, Gabriela; Wake, David B.

    2000-01-01

    Although salamanders are characteristic amphibians in Holarctic temperate habitats, in tropical regions they have diversified evolutionarily only in tropical America. An adaptive radiation centered in Middle America occurred late in the history of a single clade, the supergenus Bolitoglossa (Plethodontidae), and large numbers of species now occur in diverse habitats. Sublineages within this clade decrease in number from the northern to southern parts of Middle America, and in Costa Rica, there are but three. Despite this phylogenetic constraint, Costa Rica has many species; the number of salamander species on one local elevational transect in the Cordillera de Talamanca may be the largest for any such transect in the world. Extraordinary variation in sequences of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b within a clade of the genus Bolitoglossa in Costa Rica reveals strong phylogeographic structure within a single species, Bolitoglossa pesrubra. Allozymic variation in 19 proteins reveals a pattern largely concordant with the mitochondrial DNA phylogeography. More species exist than are currently recognized. Diversification occurs in restricted geographic areas and involves sharp geographic and elevational differentiation and zonation. In their degree of genetic differentiation at a local scale, these species of the deep tropics exceed the known variation of extratropical salamanders, which also differ in being less restricted in elevational range. Salamanders display “tropicality” in that although speciose, they are usually local in distribution and rare. They display strong ecological and physiological differentiation that may contribute importantly to morphological divergence and species formation. PMID:10677512

  8. Salamander occupancy in headwater stream networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, E.H.C.; Green, L.E.; Lowe, W.H.

    2009-01-01

    1. Stream ecosystems exhibit a highly consistent dendritic geometry in which linear habitat units intersect to create a hierarchical network of connected branches. 2. Ecological and life history traits of species living in streams, such as the potential for overland movement, may interact with this architecture to shape patterns of occupancy and response to disturbance. Specifically, large-scale habitat alteration that fragments stream networks and reduces connectivity may reduce the probability a stream is occupied by sensitive species, such as stream salamanders. 3. We collected habitat occupancy data on four species of stream salamanders in first-order (i.e. headwater) streams in undeveloped and urbanised regions of the eastern U.S.A. We then used an information-theoretic approach to test alternative models of salamander occupancy based on a priori predictions of the effects of network configuration, region and salamander life history. 4. Across all four species, we found that streams connected to other first-order streams had higher occupancy than those flowing directly into larger streams and rivers. For three of the four species, occupancy was lower in the urbanised region than in the undeveloped region. 5. These results demonstrate that the spatial configuration of stream networks within protected areas affects the occurrences of stream salamander species. We strongly encourage preservation of network connections between first-order streams in conservation planning and management decisions that may affect stream species.

  9. Data congruence, paedomorphosis and salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Struck, Torsten H

    2007-01-01

    Background The retention of ancestral juvenile characters by adult stages of descendants is called paedomorphosis. However, this process can mislead phylogenetic analyses based on morphological data, even in combination with molecular data, because the assessment if a character is primary absent or secondary lost is difficult. Thus, the detection of incongruence between morphological and molecular data is necessary to investigate the reliability of simultaneous analyses. Different methods have been proposed to detect data congruence or incongruence. Five of them (PABA, PBS, NDI, LILD, DRI) are used herein to assess incongruence between morphological and molecular data in a case study addressing salamander phylogeny, which comprises several supposedly paedomorphic taxa. Therefore, previously published data sets were compiled herein. Furthermore, two strategies ameliorating effects of paedomorphosis on phylogenetic studies were tested herein using a statistical rigor. Additionally, efficiency of the different methods to assess incongruence was analyzed using this empirical data set. Finally, a test statistic is presented for all these methods except DRI. Results The addition of morphological data to molecular data results in both different positions of three of the four paedomorphic taxa and strong incongruence, but treating the morphological data using different strategies ameliorating the negative impact of paedomorphosis revokes these changes and minimizes the conflict. Of these strategies the strategy to just exclude paedomorphic character traits seem to be most beneficial. Of the three molecular partitions analyzed herein the RAG1 partition seems to be the most suitable to resolve deep salamander phylogeny. The rRNA and mtDNA partition are either too conserved or too variable, respectively. Of the different methods to detect incongruence, the NDI and PABA approaches are more conservative in the indication of incongruence than LILD and PBS. Conclusion

  10. [Peculiarities of phosphoglycerate kinase-1 pseudogene evolution in Schrenck salamander (Salamandrella schrenckii Strauch, 1870)].

    PubMed

    Malyarchuk, B A; Denisova, G A; Derenko, M V

    2013-07-01

    Processed copies of genes generally evolve in neutral mode as pseudogenes, however, some of them might be important sources of new functional genes. The psiPGK1 pseudogene has been discovered in Schrenck salamander (Salamandrella schrenckii, Amphibia, Caudata, Hynobiidae) via polymerase chain reaction used to amplify the phosphoglycerate kinase 1 gene (PGK1). This pseudogene is an intronless copy of PGK1 gene absent of exon 6. Analysis of psiPGK1 pseudogene polymorphism has demonstrated that it lacks mutations, which results in shifts in the stop codons and reading frames, as well as that the interspecies variation of this pseudogene was inconsistent with the neutral model of evolution. In addition, the pattern of phylogeographic differentiation of the psiPGK1 variants mainly coincides with that observed in mitochondrial DNA. These observations allow it to be suggested that the psiPGK1 pseudogene is a new functional gene in the Schrenck salamander. PMID:24450152

  11. Invasive Asian Earthworms Negatively Impact Keystone Terrestrial Salamanders.

    PubMed

    Ziemba, Julie L; Hickerson, Cari-Ann M; Anthony, Carl D

    2016-01-01

    Asian pheretimoid earthworms (e.g. Amynthas and Metaphire spp.) are invading North American forests and consuming the vital detrital layer that forest floor biota [including the keystone species Plethodon cinereus (Eastern Red-backed Salamander)], rely on for protection, food, and habitat. Plethodon cinereus population declines have been associated with leaf litter loss following the invasion of several exotic earthworm species, but there have been few studies on the specific interactions between pheretimoid earthworms and P. cinereus. Since some species of large and active pheretimoids spatially overlap with salamanders beneath natural cover objects and in detritus, they may distinctively compound the negative consequences of earthworm-mediated resource degradation by physically disturbing important salamander activities (foraging, mating, and egg brooding). We predicted that earthworms would exclude salamanders from high quality microhabitat, reduce foraging efficiency, and negatively affect salamander fitness. In laboratory trials, salamanders used lower quality microhabitat and consumed fewer flies in the presence of earthworms. In a natural field experiment, conducted on salamander populations from "non-invaded" and "pheretimoid invaded" sites in Ohio, salamanders and earthworms shared cover objects ~60% less than expected. Earthworm abundance was negatively associated with juvenile and male salamander abundance, but had no relationship with female salamander abundance. There was no effect of pheretimoid invasion on salamander body condition. Juvenile and non-resident male salamanders do not hold stable territories centered beneath cover objects such as rocks or logs, which results in reduced access to prey, greater risk of desiccation, and dispersal pressure. Habitat degradation and physical exclusion of salamanders from cover objects may hinder juvenile and male salamander performance, ultimately reducing recruitment and salamander abundance following Asian

  12. Invasive Asian Earthworms Negatively Impact Keystone Terrestrial Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Ziemba, Julie L.

    2016-01-01

    Asian pheretimoid earthworms (e.g. Amynthas and Metaphire spp.) are invading North American forests and consuming the vital detrital layer that forest floor biota [including the keystone species Plethodon cinereus (Eastern Red-backed Salamander)], rely on for protection, food, and habitat. Plethodon cinereus population declines have been associated with leaf litter loss following the invasion of several exotic earthworm species, but there have been few studies on the specific interactions between pheretimoid earthworms and P. cinereus. Since some species of large and active pheretimoids spatially overlap with salamanders beneath natural cover objects and in detritus, they may distinctively compound the negative consequences of earthworm-mediated resource degradation by physically disturbing important salamander activities (foraging, mating, and egg brooding). We predicted that earthworms would exclude salamanders from high quality microhabitat, reduce foraging efficiency, and negatively affect salamander fitness. In laboratory trials, salamanders used lower quality microhabitat and consumed fewer flies in the presence of earthworms. In a natural field experiment, conducted on salamander populations from “non-invaded” and “pheretimoid invaded” sites in Ohio, salamanders and earthworms shared cover objects ~60% less than expected. Earthworm abundance was negatively associated with juvenile and male salamander abundance, but had no relationship with female salamander abundance. There was no effect of pheretimoid invasion on salamander body condition. Juvenile and non-resident male salamanders do not hold stable territories centered beneath cover objects such as rocks or logs, which results in reduced access to prey, greater risk of desiccation, and dispersal pressure. Habitat degradation and physical exclusion of salamanders from cover objects may hinder juvenile and male salamander performance, ultimately reducing recruitment and salamander abundance

  13. The First Salamander Defensin Antimicrobial Peptide

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Ke; Rong, Mingqiang; Lai, Ren

    2013-01-01

    Antimicrobial peptides have been widely identified from amphibian skins except salamanders. A novel antimicrobial peptide (CFBD) was isolated and characterized from skin secretions of the salamander, Cynops fudingensis. The cDNA encoding CFBD precursor was cloned from the skin cDNA library of C. fudingensis. The precursor was composed of three domains: signal peptide of 17 residues, mature peptide of 41 residues and intervening propeptide of 3 residues. There are six cysteines in the sequence of mature CFBD peptide, which possibly form three disulfide-bridges. CFBD showed antimicrobial activities against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans and Escherichia coli. This peptide could be classified into family of β-defensin based on its seqeuence similarity with β-defensins from other vertebrates. Evolution analysis indicated that CFBD was close to fish β-defensin. As far as we know, CFBD is the first β-defensin antimicrobial peptide from salamanders. PMID:24386139

  14. Effects of Timber Harvests and Silvicultural Edges on Terrestrial Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    MacNeil, Jami E.; Williams, Rod N.

    2014-01-01

    Balancing timber production and conservation in forest management requires an understanding of how timber harvests affect wildlife species. Terrestrial salamanders are useful indicators of mature forest ecosystem health due to their importance to ecosystem processes and sensitivity to environmental change. However, the effects of timber harvests on salamanders, though often researched, are still not well understood. To further this understanding, we used artificial cover objects to monitor the relative abundance of terrestrial salamanders for two seasons (fall and spring) pre-harvest and five seasons post-harvest in six forest management treatments, and for three seasons post-harvest across the edge gradients of six recent clearcuts. In total, we recorded 19,048 encounters representing nine species of salamanders. We observed declines in mean encounters of eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) and northern slimy salamanders (P. glutinosus) from pre- to post-harvest in group selection cuts and in clearcuts. However, we found no evidence of salamander declines at shelterwoods and forested sites adjacent to harvests. Edge effects induced by recent clearcuts influenced salamanders for approximately 20 m into the forest, but edge influence varied by slope orientation. Temperature, soil moisture, and canopy cover were all correlated with salamander counts. Our results suggest silvicultural techniques that remove the forest canopy negatively affect salamander relative abundance on the local scale during the years immediately following harvest, and that the depth of edge influence of clearcuts on terrestrial salamanders is relatively shallow (<20 m). Small harvests (<4 ha) and techniques that leave the forest canopy intact may be compatible with maintaining terrestrial salamander populations across a forested landscape. Our results demonstrate the importance of examining species-specific responses and monitoring salamanders across multiple seasons and years

  15. Effects of timber harvests and silvicultural edges on terrestrial salamanders.

    PubMed

    MacNeil, Jami E; Williams, Rod N

    2014-01-01

    Balancing timber production and conservation in forest management requires an understanding of how timber harvests affect wildlife species. Terrestrial salamanders are useful indicators of mature forest ecosystem health due to their importance to ecosystem processes and sensitivity to environmental change. However, the effects of timber harvests on salamanders, though often researched, are still not well understood. To further this understanding, we used artificial cover objects to monitor the relative abundance of terrestrial salamanders for two seasons (fall and spring) pre-harvest and five seasons post-harvest in six forest management treatments, and for three seasons post-harvest across the edge gradients of six recent clearcuts. In total, we recorded 19,048 encounters representing nine species of salamanders. We observed declines in mean encounters of eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) and northern slimy salamanders (P. glutinosus) from pre- to post-harvest in group selection cuts and in clearcuts. However, we found no evidence of salamander declines at shelterwoods and forested sites adjacent to harvests. Edge effects induced by recent clearcuts influenced salamanders for approximately 20 m into the forest, but edge influence varied by slope orientation. Temperature, soil moisture, and canopy cover were all correlated with salamander counts. Our results suggest silvicultural techniques that remove the forest canopy negatively affect salamander relative abundance on the local scale during the years immediately following harvest, and that the depth of edge influence of clearcuts on terrestrial salamanders is relatively shallow (<20 m). Small harvests (<4 ha) and techniques that leave the forest canopy intact may be compatible with maintaining terrestrial salamander populations across a forested landscape. Our results demonstrate the importance of examining species-specific responses and monitoring salamanders across multiple seasons and years

  16. Asymmetric Introgression in a Spotted Salamander Hybrid Zone.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Benjamin B; White, Thomas A; Phillips, Christopher A; Zamudio, Kelly R

    2015-01-01

    Before the establishment of reproductive isolation, deeply diverged intraspecific lineages can experience complex genetic and behavioral interactions as they come into secondary contact. Divergent selective and demographic processes mediate gene flow among lineages, resulting in hybrid zones with complex biogeographic structure. Discordance in the biogeographic patterns of autosomal and maternally inherited loci provides a useful window to infer the processes mediating admixture and introgression across hybrid zones. Here, we sampled 489 genotypes across a hybrid zone between 2 phylogeographic lineages of the spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, and characterize discordant patterns of nuclear and mitochondrial introgression across the contact boundary. Our results indicate asymmetric introgression of nuclear DNA beyond the contact boundary from the western to eastern lineage, with introgression of eastern mitochondrial DNA into the western lineage. We discuss alternative mechanisms for this pattern and attribute this result to neutral patterns of population expansion of the western lineage into the east in combination with female mate choice for larger-bodied western males. Our results underscore the complexity of interacting mechanisms that give rise to reproductive asymmetries in the earliest stages of the speciation process. PMID:26136297

  17. Phylogeography of Sardinian Cave Salamanders (Genus Hydromantes) Is Mainly Determined by Geomorphology

    PubMed Central

    Chiari, Ylenia; van der Meijden, Arie; Mucedda, Mauro; Lourenço, João M.; Hochkirch, Axel; Veith, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Detecting the factors that determine the interruption of gene flow between populations is key to understanding how speciation occurs. In this context, caves are an excellent system for studying processes of colonization, differentiation and speciation, since they represent discrete geographical units often with known geological histories. Here, we asked whether discontinuous calcareous areas and cave systems represent major barriers to gene flow within and among the five species of Sardinian cave salamanders (genus Hydromantes) and whether intraspecific genetic structure parallels geographic distance within and among caves. We generated mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences from 184 individuals representing 48 populations, and used a Bayesian phylogeographic approach to infer possible areas of cladogenesis for these species and reconstruct historical and current dispersal routes among distinct populations. Our results show deep genetic divergence within and among all Sardinian cave salamander species, which can mostly be attributed to the effects of mountains and discontinuities in major calcareous areas and cave systems acting as barriers to gene flow. While these salamander species can also occur outside caves, our results indicate that there is a very poor dispersal of these species between separate cave systems. PMID:22427830

  18. Structural insights into the evolution of a sexy protein: novel topology and restricted backbone flexibility in a hypervariable pheromone from the red-legged salamander, Plethodon shermani.

    PubMed

    Wilburn, Damien B; Bowen, Kathleen E; Doty, Kari A; Arumugam, Sengodagounder; Lane, Andrew N; Feldhoff, Pamela W; Feldhoff, Richard C

    2014-01-01

    In response to pervasive sexual selection, protein sex pheromones often display rapid mutation and accelerated evolution of corresponding gene sequences. For proteins, the general dogma is that structure is maintained even as sequence or function may rapidly change. This phenomenon is well exemplified by the three-finger protein (TFP) superfamily: a diverse class of vertebrate proteins co-opted for many biological functions - such as components of snake venoms, regulators of the complement system, and coordinators of amphibian limb regeneration. All of the >200 structurally characterized TFPs adopt the namesake "three-finger" topology. In male red-legged salamanders, the TFP pheromone Plethodontid Modulating Factor (PMF) is a hypervariable protein such that, through extensive gene duplication and pervasive sexual selection, individual male salamanders express more than 30 unique isoforms. However, it remained unclear how this accelerated evolution affected the protein structure of PMF. Using LC/MS-MS and multidimensional NMR, we report the 3D structure of the most abundant PMF isoform, PMF-G. The high resolution structural ensemble revealed a highly modified TFP structure, including a unique disulfide bonding pattern and loss of secondary structure, that define a novel protein topology with greater backbone flexibility in the third peptide finger. Sequence comparison, models of molecular evolution, and homology modeling together support that this flexible third finger is the most rapidly evolving segment of PMF. Combined with PMF sequence hypervariability, this structural flexibility may enhance the plasticity of PMF as a chemical signal by permitting potentially thousands of structural conformers. We propose that the flexible third finger plays a critical role in PMF:receptor interactions. As female receptors co-evolve, this flexibility may allow PMF to still bind its receptor(s) without the immediate need for complementary mutations. Consequently, this unique

  19. Homing orientation in salamanders: A mechanism involving chemical cues

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Madison, D. M.

    1972-01-01

    A detailed description is given of experiments made to determine the senses and chemical cues used by salamanders for homing orientation. Sensory impairment and cue manipulative techniques were used in the investigation. All experiments were carried out at night. Results show that sense impaired animals did not home as readily as those who were blind but retained their sensory mechanism. This fact suggests that the olfactory mechanism is necessary for homing in the salamander. It was determined that after the impaired salamander regenerated its sensory mechanism it too returned home. It was concluded that homing ability in salamanders is direction independent, distant dependent, and vision independent.

  20. Lethal effects of water quality on threatened California salamanders but not on co-occurring hybrid salamanders.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Maureen E; Johnson, Jarrett R; Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M; Lowenstine, Linda J; Picco, Angela M; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2013-02-01

    Biological invasions and habitat alteration are often detrimental to native species, but their interactions are difficult to predict. Interbreeding between native and introduced species generates novel genotypes and phenotypes, and human land use alters habitat structure and chemistry. Both invasions and habitat alteration create new biological challenges and opportunities. In the intensively farmed Salinas Valley, California (U.S.A.), threatened California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) have been replaced by hybrids between California tiger salamander and introduced barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium). We conducted an enclosure experiment to examine the effects habitat modification and relative frequency of hybrid and native California tiger salamanders have on recruitment of salamanders and their prey, Pacific chorus frogs (Pseudacris regilla). We tested whether recruitment differed among genetic classes of tiger salamanders (hybrid or native) and pond hydroperiod (seasonal or perennial). Roughly 6 weeks into the experiment, 70% (of 378 total) of salamander larvae died in 4 out of 6 ponds. Native salamanders survived (n = 12) in these ponds only if they had metamorphosed prior to the die-offs. During die-offs, all larvae of native salamanders died, whereas 56% of hybrid larvae died. We necropsied native and hybrid salamanders, tested water quality, and queried the California Department of Pesticide Regulation database to investigate possible causes of the die-offs. Salamander die-offs, changes in the abundance of other community members (invertebrates, algae, and cyanobacteria), shifts in salamander sex ratio, and patterns of pesticide application in adjacent fields suggest that pesticide use may have contributed to die-offs. That all survivors were hybrids suggests that environmental stress may promote rapid displacement of native genotypes. PMID:23140535

  1. Kinship affects morphogenesis in cannibalistic salamanders.

    PubMed

    Pfennig, D W; Collins, J P

    1993-04-29

    Inclusive fitness theory predicts that organisms can often increase their fitness by helping relatives. Indeed, many animals modify their behaviour towards kin in a fashion consistent with theory. Morphogenesis may also be sensitive to kinship environment, especially in species that facultatively produce distinct morphs that differ in their ability to harm relatives, such as those that produce alternative cannibalistic and non-cannibalistic phenotypes. We tested this hypothesis by examining whether consanguinity affected the probability that structurally distinctive cannibal morphs would develop in larval Arizona tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum). We report here that when tiger salamander larvae are reared in mixed-brood groups they are significantly more likely to develop the cannibal morphology and at an earlier age than siblings reared in pure-sibship groups. In general, morphogenesis may be responsive to kinship in any species that facultatively develops structures that can be used against conspecifics as weaponry. PMID:8479520

  2. Stream salamanders as indicators of stream quality in Maryland, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Southerland, M.T.; Jung, R.E.; Baxter, D.P.; Chellman, I.C.; Mercurio, G.; Volstad, J.H.

    2004-01-01

    Biological indicators are critical to the protection of small, headwater streams and the ecological values they provide. Maryland and other state monitoring programs have determined that fish indicators are ineffective in small streams, where stream salamanders may replace fish as top predators. Because of their life history, physiology, abundance, and ubiquity, stream salamanders are likely representative of biological integrity in these streams. The goal of this study was to determine whether stream salamanders are effective indicators of ecological conditions across biogeographic regions and gradients of human disturbance. During the summers of 2001 and 2002, we intensively surveyed for stream salamanders at 76 stream sites located west of the Maryland Coastal Plain, sites also monitored by the Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) and City of Gaithersburg. We found 1,584 stream salamanders, including all eight species known in Maryland, using two 15 ? 2 m transects and two 4 m2 quadrats that spanned both stream bank and channel. We performed removal sampling on transects to estimate salamander species detection probabilities, which ranged from 0.67-0.85. Stepwise regressions identified 15 of 52 non-salamander variables, representing water quality, physical habitat, land use, and biological conditions, which best predicted salamander metrics. Indicator development involved (1) identifying reference (non-degraded) and degraded sites (using percent forest, shading, riparian buffer width, aesthetic rating, and benthic macroinvertebrate and fish indices of biotic integrity); (2) testing 12 candidate salamander metrics (representing species richness and composition, abundance, species tolerance, and reproductive function) for their ability to distinguish reference from degraded sites; and (3) combining metrics into an index that effectively discriminated sites according to known stream conditions. Final indices for Highlands, Piedmont, and Non-Coastal Plain

  3. Bromeliad selection by two salamander species in a harsh environment.

    PubMed

    Ruano-Fajardo, Gustavo; Rovito, Sean M; Ladle, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    Bromeliad phytotelmata are frequently used by several Neotropical amphibian taxa, possibly due to their high humidity, microclimatic stability, and role as a refuge from predators. Indeed, the ability of phytotelmata to buffer against adverse environmental conditions may be instrumental in allowing some amphibian species to survive during periods of environmental change or to colonize sub-optimal habitats. Association between bromeliad traits and salamanders has not been studied at a fine scale, despite the intimate association of many salamander species with bromeliads. Here, we identify microhabitat characteristics of epiphytic bromeliads used by two species of the Bolitoglossa morio group (B. morio and B. pacaya) in forest disturbed by volcanic activity in Guatemala. Specifically, we measured multiple variables for bromeliads (height and position in tree, phytotelma water temperature and pH, canopy cover, phytotelma size, leaf size, and tree diameter at breast height), as well as salamander size. We employed a DNA barcoding approach to identify salamanders. We found that B. morio and B. pacaya occurred in microsympatry in bromeliads and that phytotelmata size and temperature of bromeliad microhabitat were the most important factors associated with the presence of salamanders. Moreover, phytotelmata with higher pH contained larger salamanders, suggesting that larger salamanders or aggregated individuals might modify pH. These results show that bromeliad selection is nonrandom with respect to microhabitat characteristics, and provide insight into the relationship between salamanders and this unique arboreal environment. PMID:24892414

  4. Bromeliad Selection by Two Salamander Species in a Harsh Environment

    PubMed Central

    Ruano-Fajardo, Gustavo; Rovito, Sean M.; Ladle, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Bromeliad phytotelmata are frequently used by several Neotropical amphibian taxa, possibly due to their high humidity, microclimatic stability, and role as a refuge from predators. Indeed, the ability of phytotelmata to buffer against adverse environmental conditions may be instrumental in allowing some amphibian species to survive during periods of environmental change or to colonize sub-optimal habitats. Association between bromeliad traits and salamanders has not been studied at a fine scale, despite the intimate association of many salamander species with bromeliads. Here, we identify microhabitat characteristics of epiphytic bromeliads used by two species of the Bolitoglossa morio group (B. morio and B. pacaya) in forest disturbed by volcanic activity in Guatemala. Specifically, we measured multiple variables for bromeliads (height and position in tree, phytotelma water temperature and pH, canopy cover, phytotelma size, leaf size, and tree diameter at breast height), as well as salamander size. We employed a DNA barcoding approach to identify salamanders. We found that B. morio and B. pacaya occurred in microsympatry in bromeliads and that phytotelmata size and temperature of bromeliad microhabitat were the most important factors associated with the presence of salamanders. Moreover, phytotelmata with higher pH contained larger salamanders, suggesting that larger salamanders or aggregated individuals might modify pH. These results show that bromeliad selection is nonrandom with respect to microhabitat characteristics, and provide insight into the relationship between salamanders and this unique arboreal environment. PMID:24892414

  5. Northwestern salamanders Ambystoma gracile in mountain lakes: record oviposition depths among salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hoffman, R., Jr.; Pearl, C.A.; Larson, G.L.; Samora, B.

    2012-01-01

    Oviposition timing, behaviors, and microhabitats of ambystomatid salamanders vary considerably (Egan and Paton 2004; Figiel and Semlitsch 1995; Howard and Wallace 1985; Mac-Cracken 2007). Regardless of species, however, females typically oviposit using sites conducive to embryo development and survival. For example, the results of an experiment by Figiel and Semlitsch (1995) on Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander) oviposition indicated that females actively selected sites that were under grass clumps in wet versus dry treatments, and surmised that environmental conditions such as humidity, moisture, and temperature contributed to their results. Other factors associated with ambystomatid oviposition and embryo survival include water temperature (Anderson 1972; Brown 1976), dissolved oxygen concentration (Petranka et al. 1982; Sacerdote and King 2009), oviposition depth (Dougherty et al. 2005; Egan and Paton 2004), and oviposition attachment structures such as woody vegetation (McCracken 2007; Nussbaum et al. 1983). Resetarits (1996), in creating a model of oviposition site selection for anuran amphibians, hypothesized that oviparous organisms were also capable of modifying oviposition behavior and site selection to accommodate varying habitat conditions and to minimize potential negative effects of environmental stressors. Kats and Sih (1992), investigating the oviposition of Ambystoma barbouri (Streamside Salamander) in pools of a Kentucky stream, found that females preferred pools without predatory Lepomis cyanellus (Green Sunfish), and that the number of egg masses present in a pool historically containing fish increased significantly the year after fish had been extirpated from the pool. Palen et al. (2005) determined that Ambystoma gracile (Northwestern Salamander) and Ambystoma macrodactylum (Longtoed Salamander) eggs were deposited either at increased depth or in full shaded habitats, respectively, as water transperancy to UV-B radiation increased.

  6. Effects of Red-Backed Salamanders on Ecosystem Functions

    PubMed Central

    Hocking, Daniel J.; Babbitt, Kimberly J.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems provide a vast array of services for human societies, but understanding how various organisms contribute to the functions that maintain these services remains an important ecological challenge. Predators can affect ecosystem functions through a combination of top-down trophic cascades and bottom-up effects on nutrient dynamics. As the most abundant vertebrate predator in many eastern US forests, woodland salamanders (Plethodon spp.) likely affect ecosystems functions. We examined the effects of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) on a variety of forest ecosystem functions using a combined approach of large-scale salamander removals (314-m2 plots) and small-scale enclosures (2 m2) where we explicitly manipulated salamander density (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 m−2). In these experiments, we measured the rates of litter and wood decomposition, potential nitrogen mineralization and nitrification rates, acorn germination, and foliar insect damage on red oak seedlings. Across both experimental venues, we found no significant effect of red-backed salamanders on any of the ecosystem functions. We also found no effect of salamanders on intraguild predator abundance (carabid beetles, centipedes, spiders). Our study adds to the already conflicting evidence on effects of red-backed salamander and other amphibians on terrestrial ecosystem functions. It appears likely that the impact of terrestrial amphibians on ecosystem functions is context dependent. Future research would benefit from explicitly examining terrestrial amphibian effects on ecosystem functions under a variety of environmental conditions and in different forest types. PMID:24466269

  7. Effects of red-backed salamanders on ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Hocking, Daniel J; Babbitt, Kimberly J

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems provide a vast array of services for human societies, but understanding how various organisms contribute to the functions that maintain these services remains an important ecological challenge. Predators can affect ecosystem functions through a combination of top-down trophic cascades and bottom-up effects on nutrient dynamics. As the most abundant vertebrate predator in many eastern US forests, woodland salamanders (Plethodon spp.) likely affect ecosystems functions. We examined the effects of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) on a variety of forest ecosystem functions using a combined approach of large-scale salamander removals (314-m(2) plots) and small-scale enclosures (2 m(2)) where we explicitly manipulated salamander density (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 m(-2)). In these experiments, we measured the rates of litter and wood decomposition, potential nitrogen mineralization and nitrification rates, acorn germination, and foliar insect damage on red oak seedlings. Across both experimental venues, we found no significant effect of red-backed salamanders on any of the ecosystem functions. We also found no effect of salamanders on intraguild predator abundance (carabid beetles, centipedes, spiders). Our study adds to the already conflicting evidence on effects of red-backed salamander and other amphibians on terrestrial ecosystem functions. It appears likely that the impact of terrestrial amphibians on ecosystem functions is context dependent. Future research would benefit from explicitly examining terrestrial amphibian effects on ecosystem functions under a variety of environmental conditions and in different forest types. PMID:24466269

  8. Paedomorphosis and simplification in the nervous system of salamanders.

    PubMed

    Roth, G; Nishikawa, K C; Naujoks-Manteuffel, C; Schmidt, A; Wake, D B

    1993-01-01

    Comparative neuroanatomists since Herrick [1914] have been aware of the paradox that the brain of amphibians, especially salamanders, is less complex than one would expect based on their phylogenetic position among the Tetrapoda. Many features of the brain are less differentiated in salamanders than in tetrapod outgroups, including chondrichthyans and bony fishes, and for some brain characters, the salamander brain is even more simple than that of the agnathans. Here, we perform a cladistic analysis on 23 characters of four sensory systems (visual, auditory, lateral line and olfactory) and the brain. Our taxa include myxinoids, lampreys, chondrichthyans, actinopterygians, Latimeria, Neoceratodus and the lepidosirenid lungfishes, amniotes, frogs, caecilians, salamanders and bolitoglossine salamanders. Of the 23 characters we examined, 19 are most parsimoniously interpreted as secondarily simplified in salamanders from a more complex ancestral state, two characters are equally parsimonious under both hypotheses, one character (well developed ipsilateral retinotectal projections) is more complex in bolitoglossine salamanders than in vertebrates generally, and only one character (migration of neurons in the medial pallium) is most parsimoniously interpreted as retention of the plesiomorphically simple condition. Secondary simplification of the salamander brain appears to result from paedomorphosis, or retention of juvenile or embryonic morphology into adulthood. Paedomorphosis is correlated with an increase in genome size, which in turn is positively correlated with cell size, but negatively correlated with cell proliferation and differentiation rates. Available data suggest that, although increasing genome size and paedomorphosis tend to compromise the function of the salamander brain, compensating mechanisms have evolved that may restore or even enhance brain function. PMID:8364715

  9. Locomotion and visually guided behavior in salamander: a neuromechanical study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ijspeert, Auke J.; Arbib, Michael A.

    2000-10-01

    This article investigates the neural mechanisms underlying locomotion and visually-guided behavior in a lower vertebrate: the salamander. We develop connectionist models of the salamander's locomotor circuitry and visual system, and analyze their functioning by embedding them into a biomechanical simulation of the salamander's body. This work is therefore an experiment in computational neuroethology which aims at investigating how behavior results from the coupling of a central nervous system (CNS) and a body, and from the interactions of the CNS-body pair with the environment. We believe that understanding these mechanisms is not only relevant for neurobiology but also for potential applications in robotics.

  10. Could we also be regenerative superheroes, like salamanders?

    PubMed

    Dall'Agnese, Alessandra; Puri, Pier Lorenzo

    2016-09-01

    Development of methods to reawaken the semi-dormant regenerative potential that lies within adult human tissues would hold promise for the restoration of diseased or damaged organs and tissues. While most of the regeneration potential is suppressed in many vertebrates, including humans, during adult life, urodele amphibians (salamanders) retain their regenerative ability throughout adulthood. Studies in newts and axolotls, two salamander models, have provided significant knowledge about adult limb regeneration. In this review, we present a comparative analysis of salamander and mammalian regeneration and discuss how evolutionarily altered properties of the regenerative environment can be exploited to restore full regenerative potential in the human body. PMID:27338874

  11. Habitat requirements of New Mexico’s endangered salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramotnik, Cindy A.; Scott, N.J.

    1988-01-01

    We measured habitat components for two state-listed endangered salamanders in New Mexico in 1986 and 1987. Both species are restricted to mesic environments within high-elevation, mixed coniferous forests. Steep slope and high elevation were the most useful variables for predicting the occurrence of Jemez Mountains salamanders and Sacramento Mountain salamanders, respectively. Although the discriminant models show some predictive value in detecting salamanders based on habitat variables, we believe that the best survey technique is ground-truth surveys in wet weather. A better fit of the discriminant models might be obtained by including variables not measured e.g., fire and logging history, and soil characteristics. We offer interim management guidelines as a result of our analysis.

  12. Salamander-like development in a seymouriamorph revealed by palaeohistology.

    PubMed

    Sanchez, Sophie; Klembara, Jozef; Castanet, Jacques; Steyer, J Sébastien

    2008-08-23

    The amniotes generally lay eggs on land and are thereby differentiated from lissamphibians (salamanders, frogs and caecilians) by their developmental pattern. Although a number of 330-300-Myr old fossils are regarded as early tetrapods placed close to amniotes on the basis of anatomical data, we still do not know whether their developmental pattern was more similar to those of lissamphibians or amniotes. Here we report palaeohistological and skeletochronological evidence supporting a salamander-like development in the seymouriamorph Discosauriscus. Its long-bone growth pattern, slow diaphyseal growth rate and delayed sexual maturity (at more than 10 years old) are more comparable with growth features of extant salamanders rather than extant amniotes, even though they are mostly hypothesized to be phylogenetically closer to living amniotes than salamanders. PMID:18460423

  13. Reduced genetic variation in the Japanese giant salamander, Andrias japonicus (Amphibia: Caudata).

    PubMed

    Matsui, Masafumi; Tominaga, Atsushi; Liu, Wan-zhao; Tanaka-Ueno, Tomoko

    2008-10-01

    The phylogenetic relationships among 46 samples from 27 populations of the Japanese giant salamander, Andriasjaponicus and its congener, A. davidianus from China was investigated, using 3664 bp sequences of the mitochondrial genes NADH1, NADH3, cyt b and CR, partial NADH6 and intervening genes. In phylogenetic trees constructed by MP, ML, and Bayesian methods, the family Cryptobranchidae and the genus Andrias both form monophyletic groups. Japanese A. japonicus and Chinese A. davidianus are sister taxa and can be regarded as separate species despite a small degree of genetic differentiation. Andriasjaponicus is divided into central and western clades, but the phylogenetic relationships within the latter clade are unresolved. As previously reported from allozyme analyses, A. japonicus exhibits little genetic differentiation, in strong contrast to salamanders of the genus Hynobius with which their distributions overlap. This reduced genetic variability in A. japonicus is attributable to a unique mating system of polygyny, delayed sexual maturity, notable longevity, life in a stable aquatic environment, and gigantism, as well as bottleneck effects following habitat fragmentation and extinction of local populations during Quaternary glaciations. The species is thus susceptible to extinction by potential environmental fluctuations, and requires extensive conservation measures. PMID:18723097

  14. Evidence for multiple Pleistocene refugia in the postglacial expansion of the eastern tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum.

    PubMed

    Church, Sheri A; Kraus, Johanna M; Mitchell, Joseph C; Church, Don R; Taylor, Douglas R

    2003-02-01

    Pleistocene glaciations were important determinants of historical migration and, hence, current levels of genetic diversity within and among populations. In many cases, these historical migrations led to the existence of disjunct populations of plants and animals. However, the origin and timing of arrival of these disjunct populations is often debated. In the current study, we identify potential refugia and estimate the timing of vicariance events of the eastern tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum, using mitochondrial sequence data. The results suggest a vicariant event 0.75-2 million years ago, separating the tiger salamanders to the east and west of the Apalachicola River Basin. East of the Appalachians, there appear to be multiple independent refugia with little migration among the remaining populations. In particular, populations along the Atlantic Coastal Plain were likely isolated in a coastal plain refugium in the Carolinas. Migrants from this refugium were the likely source of colonists for populations occupying previously glaciated areas along the northeastern Atlantic Coast. A second potential refugium occurs in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia. This refugium contains a disjunct population of the eastern tiger salamander, as well as a community of nearly 70 other disjunct plant and animal species. The tiger salamanders here have been isolated from other populations for 200,000-500,000 years. These results suggest that disjunct mountain populations of Coastal Plain species may have existed in situ throughout the Pleistocene in Appalachian refugia. Therefore, these disjunct populations are not of recent origin, but rather exist as relicts of a warmer, more widespread fauna and flora that is now restricted to the Coastal Plain. PMID:12683533

  15. Escape to Alcatraz: evolutionary history of slender salamanders (Batrachoseps) on the islands of San Francisco Bay

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Solano, Iñigo; Lawson, Robin

    2009-01-01

    Background Island populations are excellent model systems for studies of phenotypic, ecological and molecular evolution. In this study, molecular markers of mitochondrial and nuclear derivation were used to investigate the evolution, structure and origin of populations of the California slender salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) inhabiting the six major islands of San Francisco Bay, formed following the rising of sea level around 9,000 years ago. Results There was a high degree of congruence in the results of analyses of nucleotide and allozyme data, both of which strongly support the hypothesis that, for the majority of the islands, salamanders are descended from hilltop populations that became isolated with the formation of the Bay ca. 9,000 years ago. There are two exceptions (Alcatraz and Yerba Buena) where the evidence suggests that salamander populations are wholly or in part, the result of anthropogenic introductions. Comparison of the molecular data and the interpretations drawn therefrom with an earlier morphological study of many of the same salamander populations show some of the same evolutionary trends. Conclusion In spite of marked differences between the evolutionary rates of the two kinds of molecular markers, both indicate distinctive and similar patterns of population structure for B. attenuatus in the San Francisco Bay Area and its islands. With the two noted exceptions, it is clear that most island populations were established prior to the 9,000 years since the formation of the Bay. Results of coalescence-based analyses suggest that for most island populations the mtDNA lineages from which they were derived date from the Pleistocene. It can be said that, based on observed values of genetic diversity, the last 9,000 years of evolution on these islands have been characterized by relative stability, with the occasional extinction of some haplotypes or alleles that were formerly shared between island and mainland populations but overall

  16. Phylogeography of the salamander genus Pseudobranchus in the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Liu, Fu-Guo Robert; Moler, Paul E; Miyamoto, Michael M

    2006-04-01

    This study provides an extensive set of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences for the salamander genus Pseudobranchus of the southeastern United States. These sequences were analysed by multiple phylogenetic methods that support a single set of major phylogeographic divisions for its two corroborated species (P. axanthus and P. striatus). These phylogeographic divisions overlap with the geographic breakpoints of other freshwater and terrestrial taxa in this region. Collectively, these overlapping patterns highlight the Central Highland and Tifton/Vidalia uplands as a significant barrier to Atlantic vs. Gulf coast groups, while reconfirming the phylogeographic significance of the Altamaha and Apalachicola river drainages. Despite their distinct phylogeographic split, P. striatus from west and east of these uplands are not currently recognizable as separate species according to the concordance principles for species definition. PMID:16289729

  17. Are Salamanders Useful Indicators of Hydrologic Permanence in Headwater Streams?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, B.; Fritz, K.

    2005-05-01

    Regulatory agencies need appropriate indicators of stream permanence to aid in jurisdictional determinations for headwater streams. We evaluated salamanders as permanence indicators because they are often abundant in fishless headwaters. Salamander and habitat data were collected in spring and summer 2003 from 59 sites located longitudinally along 17 forested streams in KY, IN, and OH. Larval Eurycea bislineata/cirrigera dominated all forests, and their abundances were highly correlated with drainage areas and channel dimensions. Appalachian streams were more diverse and had intermittent sites with more Desmognathus and Gyrinophilus spp. Of 22 sites where larvae were collected in spring, 9 sites subsequently dried in summer, suggesting salamanders either emigrated or died. We therefore only used taxa with multi-year larval stages as indicators of perennial water. Salamander larvae >1 yr old were collected from each locality in drainage areas <0.17 km2. However, these older larvae were often found in isolated pools that serve as refugia during dry periods. Findings suggest salamanders with multi-year larval periods can indicate perennial waters and that their use is more effective in Appalachia where abundance and diversity are high. Although this work was reviewed by EPA and approved for publication, it may not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.

  18. Variation in salamanders: an essay on genomes, development, and evolution.

    PubMed

    Brockes, Jeremy P

    2015-01-01

    Regeneration is studied in a few model species of salamanders, but the ten families of salamanders show considerable variation, and this has implications for our understanding of salamander biology. The most recent classification of the families identifies the cryptobranchoidea as the basal group which diverged in the early Jurassic. Variation in the sizes of genomes is particularly obvious, and reflects a major contribution from transposable elements which is already present in the basal group.Limb development has been a focus for evodevo studies, in part because of the variable property of pre-axial dominance which distinguishes salamanders from other tetrapods. This is thought to reflect the selective pressures that operate on a free-living aquatic larva, and might also be relevant for the evolution of limb regeneration. Recent fossil evidence suggests that both pre-axial dominance and limb regeneration were present 300 million years ago in larval temnospondyl amphibians that lived in mountain lakes. A satisfying account of regeneration in salamanders may need to address all these different aspects in the future. PMID:25740473

  19. Small effective population size in the long-toed salamander.

    PubMed

    Funk, W C; Tallmon, D A; Allendorf, F W

    1999-10-01

    The effective population sizes (Ne) of six populations of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) from Montana and Idaho, USA were estimated from allozyme data from samples collected in 1978, 1996 and 1997 using the temporal allele frequency method. Five of the six estimates ranged from 23 to 207 (mean = 123 +/- 79); one estimate was indistinguishable from infinity. In order to infer the actual Ne of salamander populations, we compared the frequency distribution of our observed Ne estimates with distributions obtained from simulated populations of known Ne. Our observed Ne estimate distribution was consistent with distributions from simulated populations with Ne values of 10, 25, and 50, suggesting an actual Ne for each of the six salamander populations of less than 100. This Ne estimate agrees with most other Ne estimates for amphibians. We conclude by discussing the conservation implications of small Ne values in amphibians in the context of increasing isolation of populations due to habitat fragmentation. PMID:10583827

  20. Duration of immobility in salamanders, genus Plethodon (Caudata: Plethodontidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Immobility is a potentially important antipredator behavior in salamanders, especially for those posessing noxious skin secretions. The duration of immobility in 15 species of terrestrial salamanders (Plethodon) varied among species. Most salamanders (78.8%) became immobile when initially contacted under field conditions, and remained immobile from 1-180 s. Immobility duration was inversely correlated with substrate temperature and covaried with air temperature, but snout-vent level (SVL) had no effect on duration. Only immobility times of Plethodon shenandoah were significantly different from any other species. Substrate temperature, air temperature, SVL, and species accounted for only a small percentage of the variance (r2=0.09). The degree of disturbance received during a predator-prey encounter is probably more important than the subtle effects of temperature and SVL in determining immobility duration.

  1. Ecological implications of metabolic compensation at low temperatures in salamanders

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is influencing the biology of the world’s biota. Temperature increases are occurring at a faster pace than that experienced by organisms in their evolutionary histories, limiting the organisms’ response to new conditions. Mechanistic models that include physiological traits can help predict species’ responses to warming. Changes in metabolism at high temperatures are often examined; yet many species are behaviorally shielded from high temperatures. Salamanders generally favor cold temperatures and are one of few groups of metazoans to be most species-rich in temperate regions. I examined variation in body temperature, behavioral activity, and temperature dependence of resting heart rate, used as a proxy for standard metabolic rate, in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Over 26 years, I found that salamanders are behaviorally active at temperatures as low as 1 °C, and aestivate at temperatures above 16 °C. Infrared thermography indicates limited thermoregulation opportunities for these nocturnal amphibians. Temperature affects resting heart rate, causing metabolic depression above 11 °C, and metabolic compensation below 8 °C: heart rate at 3 °C is 224% the expected heart rate. Thus, salamanders operating at low temperatures during periods of peak behavioral activity are able to maintain a higher metabolic rate than the rate expected in absence of compensation. This compensatory mechanism has important ecological implications, because it increases estimated seasonal heart rates. Increased heart rate, and thus metabolism, will require higher caloric intake for field-active salamanders. Thus, it is important to consider a species performance breadth over the entire temperature range, and particularly low temperatures that are ecologically relevant for cold tolerant species such as salamanders. PMID:27257549

  2. Ecological implications of metabolic compensation at low temperatures in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Catenazzi, Alessandro

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is influencing the biology of the world's biota. Temperature increases are occurring at a faster pace than that experienced by organisms in their evolutionary histories, limiting the organisms' response to new conditions. Mechanistic models that include physiological traits can help predict species' responses to warming. Changes in metabolism at high temperatures are often examined; yet many species are behaviorally shielded from high temperatures. Salamanders generally favor cold temperatures and are one of few groups of metazoans to be most species-rich in temperate regions. I examined variation in body temperature, behavioral activity, and temperature dependence of resting heart rate, used as a proxy for standard metabolic rate, in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Over 26 years, I found that salamanders are behaviorally active at temperatures as low as 1 °C, and aestivate at temperatures above 16 °C. Infrared thermography indicates limited thermoregulation opportunities for these nocturnal amphibians. Temperature affects resting heart rate, causing metabolic depression above 11 °C, and metabolic compensation below 8 °C: heart rate at 3 °C is 224% the expected heart rate. Thus, salamanders operating at low temperatures during periods of peak behavioral activity are able to maintain a higher metabolic rate than the rate expected in absence of compensation. This compensatory mechanism has important ecological implications, because it increases estimated seasonal heart rates. Increased heart rate, and thus metabolism, will require higher caloric intake for field-active salamanders. Thus, it is important to consider a species performance breadth over the entire temperature range, and particularly low temperatures that are ecologically relevant for cold tolerant species such as salamanders. PMID:27257549

  3. Ontogenetic evidence for the Paleozoic ancestry of salamanders.

    PubMed

    Schoch, Rainer R; Carroll, Robert L

    2003-01-01

    The phylogenetic positions of frogs, salamanders, and caecilians have been difficult to establish. Data matrices based primarily on Paleozoic taxa support a monophyletic origin of all Lissamphibia but have resulted in widely divergent hypotheses of the nature of their common ancestor. Analysis that concentrates on the character states of the stem taxa of the extant orders, in contrast, suggests a polyphyletic origin from divergent Paleozoic clades. Comparison of patterns of larval development in Paleozoic and modern amphibians provides a means to test previous phylogenies based primarily on adult characteristics. This proves to be highly informative in the case of the origin of salamanders. Putative ancestors of salamanders are recognized from the Permo-Carboniferous boundary of Germany on the basis of ontogenetic changes observed in fossil remains of larval growth series. The entire developmental sequence from hatching to metamorphosis is revealed in an assemblage of over 600 specimens from a single locality, all belonging to the genus Apateon. Apateon forms the most speciose genus of the neotenic temnospondyl family Branchiosauridae. The sequence of ossification of individual bones and the changing configuration of the skull closely parallel those observed in the development of primitive living salamanders. These fossils provide a model of how derived features of the salamander skull may have evolved in the context of feeding specializations that appeared in early larval stages of members of the Branchiosauridae. Larvae of Apateon share many unique derived characters with salamanders of the families Hynobiidae, Salamandridae, and Ambystomatidae, which have not been recognized in any other group of Paleozoic amphibians. PMID:12752770

  4. Bleached pigment activates transduction in salamander cones

    PubMed Central

    1995-01-01

    We have used suction electrode recording together with rapid steps into 0.5 mM IBMX solution to investigate changes in guanylyl cyclase velocity produced by pigment bleaching in isolated cones of the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum. Both backgrounds and bleaches accelerate the time course of current increase during steps into IBMX. We interpret this as evidence that the velocity of the guanylyl cyclase is increased in background light or after bleaching. Our results indicate that cyclase velocity increases nearly linearly with increasing percent pigment bleached but nonlinearly (and may saturate) with increasing back-ground intensity. In cones (as previously demonstrated for rods), light-activated pigment and bleached pigment appear to have somewhat different effects on the transduction cascade. The effect of bleaching on cyclase rate is maintained for at least 15-20 min after the light is removed, much longer than is required after a bleach for circulating current and sensitivity to stabilize in an isolated cone. The effect on the cyclase rate can be completely reversed by treatment with liposomes containing 11-cis retinal. The effects of bleaching can also be partially reversed by beta-ionone, an analogue of the chromophore 11- cis-retinal which does not form a covalent attachment to opsin. Perfusion of a bleached cone with beta-ionone produces a rapid increase in circulating current and sensitivity, which rapidly reverses when the beta-ionone is removed. Perfusion with beta-ionone also causes a partial reversal of the bleach-induced acceleration of cyclase velocity. We conclude that bleaching produces an "equivalent background" excitation of the transduction cascade in cones, perhaps by a mechanism similar to that in rods. PMID:8786347

  5. Tracing the first step to speciation: ecological and genetic differentiation of a salamander population in a small forest.

    PubMed

    Steinfartz, Sebastian; Weitere, Markus; Tautz, Diethard

    2007-11-01

    Mechanisms and processes of ecologically driven adaptive speciation are best studied in natural situations where the splitting process is still occurring, i.e. before complete reproductive isolation is achieved. Here, we present a case of an early stage of adaptive differentiation under sympatric conditions in the fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, that allows inferring the underlying processes for the split. Larvae of S. salamandra normally mature in small streams until metamorphosis, but in an old, continuous forest area near Bonn (the Kottenforst), we found salamander larvae not only in small streams but also in shallow ponds, which are ecologically very different from small streams. Common-environment experiments with larvae from both habitat types reveal specific adaptations to these different ecological conditions. Mitochondrial and microsatellite analyses show that the two ecologically differentiated groups also show signs of genetic differentiation. A parallel analysis of animals from a neighbouring much larger forest area (the Eifel), in which larvae mature only in streams, shows no signs of genetic differentiation, indicating that gene flow between ecologically similar types can occur over large distances. Hence, geographical factors cannot explain the differential larval habitat adaptations in the Kottenforst, in particular since adult life and mating of S. salamandra is strictly terrestrial and not associated with larval habitats. We propose therefore that the evolution of these adaptations was coupled with the evolution of cues for assortative mating which would be in line with models of sympatric speciation that suggest a co-evolution of habitat adaptations and associated mating signals. PMID:17877714

  6. Native Salamanders and Introduced Fish: Changing the Nature of Mountain Lakes and Ponds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Gary L.; Hoffman, Robert L.

    2003-01-01

    During the last century, many fishless mountain lakes and ponds in the Pacific Northwest were stocked with non-native fish, such as brook trout, for recreational purposes. These introduced fish replaced long-toed and northwestern salamander larvae as the top aquatic vertebrate predator by preying on salamander larvae. This predatory interaction has been shown to reduce the abundances of larval salamander populations. We conducted studies in two national parks to assess the abundances of salamander larvae in lakes with and without introduced fish. These studies suggest that the two salamander species were affected quite differently by the presence of introduced fish because of different life-history traits and different distributions of salamanders and fish within each park.

  7. Impact of valley fills on streamside salamanders in southern West Virginia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wood, Petra Bohall; Williams, Jennifer M.

    2013-01-01

    Valley fills associated with mountaintop-removal mining bury stream headwaters and affect water quality and ecological function of reaches below fills. We quantified relative abundance of streamside salamanders in southern West Virginia during 2002 in three streams below valley fills (VFS) and in three reference streams (RS). We surveyed 36 10- × 2-m stream transects, once in summer and fall, paired by order and structure. Of 2,343 salamanders captured, 66.7% were from RS. Total salamanders (adults plus larvae) were more abundant in RS than VFS for first-order and second-order reaches. Adult salamanders had greater abundance in first-order reaches of RS than VFS. Larval salamanders were more abundant in second-order reaches of RS than VFS. No stream width or mesohabitat variables differed between VFS and RS. Only two cover variables differed. Silt cover, greater in VFS than RS first-order reaches, is a likely contributor to reduced abundance of salamanders in VFS. Second-order RS had more boulder cover than second-order VFS, which may have contributed to the higher total and larval salamander abundance in RS. Water chemistry assessments of our VFS and RS reported elevated levels of metal and ion concentrations in VFS, which can depress macroinvertebrate populations and likely affect salamander abundance. Valley fills appear to have significant negative effects on stream salamander abundance due to alterations in habitat structure, water quality and chemistry, and macroinvertebrate communities in streams below fills.

  8. Age-related changes in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Townes-Anderson, E; Colantonio, A; St Jules, R S

    1998-05-01

    Tiger salamanders have been used in visual science because of the large size of their cells and the ease of preparation and maintenance of in vitro retinal preparations. We have found that salamanders over 27 cm in length show a variety of visual abnormalities. Compared to smaller animals (15-23 cm), large animals exhibited a decrease in visual responses determined by tests of the optomotor reflex. Small animals responded correctly an average of 84.5% of the time in visual testing at three light levels compared to an average of 68.4% for the large animals with the poorest visual performance at the lowest level of illumination. In addition, large animals contained (i) histological degeneration of the outer retina, in particular, loss and disruption of outer segments and abnormalities of the retinal pigmented epithelium, (ii) loss of cells, including photoreceptors, by apoptosis as evaluated with the TUNEL technique, and (iii) an increase in the number of macrophages and lymphocytes within the retina as determined by morphological examination. These histological changes were present in all large animals and all quadrants of their retinas. In contrast, small animals showed virtually no retinal degeneration, no TUNEL-positive cells, and few immune-like cells in the retina. Since large animals are also older animals. the visual changes are age-related. Loss of visual function and histological degeneration in the outer retina also typify aged human eyes. Thus, we propose that large salamanders serve as an animal model for age-related retinal degeneration. In addition to providing a source of aging retina that is readily accessible to experimental manipulation, the salamander provides a pigmented retina with a mixed (2:1, rod:cone) population of photoreceptors, similar to the degeneration-prone parafoveal region of the human eye. PMID:9631666

  9. Salamander growth rates increase along an experimental stream phosphorus gradient.

    PubMed

    Bumpers, Phillip M; Maerz, John C; Rosemond, Amy D; Benstead, Jonathan P

    2015-11-01

    Nutrient-driven perturbations to the resource base of food webs are predicted to attenuate with trophic distance, so it is unclear whether higher-level consumers will generally respond to anthropogenic nutrient loading. Few studies have tested whether nutrient (specifically, nitrogen [N] and phosphorus [P]) enrichment of aquatic ecosystems propagates through multiple trophic levels to affect predators, or whether N vs. P is relatively more important in driving effects on food webs. We conducted two-year whole-stream N and P additions to five streams to generate gradients in N and P concentration and N:P ratio (target N:P = 2, 8, 16, 32, 128). Larval salamanders are vertebrate predators of primary and secondary macroinvertebrate consumers in many heterotrophic headwater streams in which the basal resources are detritus and associated microorganisms. We determined the effects of N and P on the growth rates of caged and free-roaming larval Desmognathus quadramaculatus and the average body size of larval Eurycea wilderae. Growth rates and average body size increased by up to 40% and 60%, respectively, with P concentration and were negatively related to N:P ratio. These findings were consistent across both species of salamanders using different methodologies (cage vs. free-roaming) and at different temporal scales (3 months vs. 2 yr). Nitrogen concentration was not significantly related to increased growth rate or body size of the salamander species tested. Our findings suggest that salamander growth responds to the relaxation of ecosystem-level P limitation and that moderate P enrichment can have relatively large effects on vertebrate predators in detritus-based food webs. PMID:27070018

  10. Apparent predation by Gray Jays, Perisoreus canadensis, on Long-toed Salamanders, Ambystoma macrodactylum, in the Oregon Cascade Range

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Murray, M.P.; Pearl, C.A.; Bury, R.B.

    2005-01-01

    We report observations of Gray Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) appearing to consume larval Long-toed Salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in a drying subalpine pond in Oregon, USA. Corvids are known to prey upon a variety of anuran amphibians, but to our knowledge, this is the first report of predation by any corvid on aquatic salamanders. Long-toed Salamanders appear palatable to Gray Jays, and may provide a food resource to Gray Jays when salamander larvae are concentrated in drying temporary ponds.

  11. Extreme morphological and ecological homoplasy in tropical salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Parra-Olea, Gabriela; Wake, David B.

    2001-01-01

    Fossorial salamanders typically have elongate and attenuated heads and bodies, diminutive limbs, hands and feet, and extremely elongate tails. Batrachoseps from California, Lineatriton from eastern México, and Oedipina from southern México to Ecuador, all members of the family Plethodontidae, tribe Bolitoglossini, resemble one another in external morphology, which has evolved independently. Whereas Oedipina and Batrachoseps are elongate because there are more trunk vertebrae, a widespread homoplasy (parallelism) in salamanders, the genus Lineatriton is unique in having evolved convergently by an alternate “giraffe-neck” developmental program. Lineatriton has the same number of trunk vertebrae as related, nonelongated taxa, but individual trunk vertebrae are elongated. A robust phylogenetic hypothesis, based on sequences of three mtDNA genes, finds Lineatriton to be deeply nested within a clade characterized by generalized ecology and morphology. Lineatriton lineolus, the only currently recognized taxon in the genus, shows unanticipated genetic diversity. Surprisingly, geographically separated populations of L. lineolus are not monophyletic, but are sister taxa of different species of the morphologically generalized genus Pseudoeurycea. Lineatriton, long thought to be a unique monospecific lineage, is polyphyletic. Accordingly, the specialized morphology of Lineatriton displays homoplasy at two hierarchical levels: (i) with respect to other elongate lineages in the family (convergence), and (ii) within what is currently recognized as a single taxon (parallelism). These evolutionary events are of adaptive significance because to invade the lowland tropics salamanders must be either arboreal or fossorial; the repeated evolution of elongation and attenuation has led to multiple lowland invasions. PMID:11427707

  12. Better than fish on land? Hearing across metamorphosis in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Christian Bech; Lauridsen, Henrik; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob; Pedersen, Michael; Madsen, Peter Teglberg

    2015-03-01

    Early tetrapods faced an auditory challenge from the impedance mismatch between air and tissue in the transition from aquatic to terrestrial lifestyles during the Early Carboniferous (350 Ma). Consequently, tetrapods may have been deaf to airborne sounds for up to 100 Myr until tympanic middle ears evolved during the Triassic. The middle ear morphology of recent urodeles is similar to that of early 'lepospondyl' microsaur tetrapods, and experimental studies on their hearing capabilities are therefore useful to understand the evolutionary and functional drivers behind the shift from aquatic to aerial hearing in early tetrapods. Here, we combine imaging techniques with neurophysiological measurements to resolve how the change from aquatic larvae to terrestrial adult affects the ear morphology and sensory capabilities of salamanders. We show that air-induced pressure detection enhances underwater hearing sensitivity of salamanders at frequencies above 120 Hz, and that both terrestrial adults and fully aquatic juvenile salamanders can detect airborne sound. Collectively, these findings suggest that early atympanic tetrapods may have been pre-equipped to aerial hearing and are able to hear airborne sound better than fish on land. When selected for, this rudimentary hearing could have led to the evolution of tympanic middle ears. PMID:25652830

  13. Mechanisms underlying vertebrate limb regeneration: lessons from the salamander.

    PubMed

    Brockes, Jeremy P; Gates, Phillip B

    2014-06-01

    Limb regeneration in adult salamanders proceeds by formation of a mound of progenitor cells called the limb blastema. It provides several pointers for regenerative medicine. These include the role of differentiated cells in the origin of the blastema, the role of regenerating axons of peripheral nerves and the importance of cell specification in conferring morphogenetic autonomy on the blastema. One aspect of regeneration that has received less attention is the ability to undergo multiple episodes without detectable change in the outcome, and with minimal effect of aging. We suggest that, although such pointers are valuable, it is important to understand why salamanders are the only adult tetrapod vertebrates able to regenerate their limbs. Although this remains a controversial issue, the existence of salamander-specific genes that play a significant role in the mechanism of regeneration provides evidence for the importance of local evolution, rather than a purely ancestral mechanism. The three-finger protein called Prod1 is discussed in the present article as an exemplar of this approach. PMID:24849229

  14. Evolutionary history of a complex adaptation: tetrodotoxin resistance in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Hanifin, Charles T; Gilly, William F

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that generate novel adaptive phenotypes is central to evolutionary biology. We used comparative analyses to reveal the history of tetrodotoxin (TTX) resistance in TTX-bearing salamanders. Resistance to TTX is a critical component of the ability to use TTX defensively but the origin of the TTX-bearing phenotype is unclear. Skeletal muscle of TTX-bearing salamanders (modern newts, family: Salamandridae) is unaffected by TTX at doses far in excess of those that block action potentials in muscle and nerve of other vertebrates. Skeletal muscle of non-TTX-bearing salamandrids is also resistant to TTX but at lower levels. Skeletal muscle TTX resistance in the Salamandridae results from the expression of TTX-resistant variants of the voltage-gated sodium channel NaV 1.4 (SCN4a). We identified four substitutions in the coding region of salSCN4a that are likely responsible for the TTX resistance measured in TTX-bearing salamanders and variation at one of these sites likely explains variation in TTX resistance among other lineages. Our results suggest that exaptation has played a role in the evolution of the TTX-bearing phenotype and provide empirical evidence that complex physiological adaptations can arise through the accumulation of beneficial mutations in the coding region of conserved proteins. PMID:25346116

  15. Better than fish on land? Hearing across metamorphosis in salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Christensen, Christian Bech; Lauridsen, Henrik; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob; Pedersen, Michael; Madsen, Peter Teglberg

    2015-01-01

    Early tetrapods faced an auditory challenge from the impedance mismatch between air and tissue in the transition from aquatic to terrestrial lifestyles during the Early Carboniferous (350 Ma). Consequently, tetrapods may have been deaf to airborne sounds for up to 100 Myr until tympanic middle ears evolved during the Triassic. The middle ear morphology of recent urodeles is similar to that of early ‘lepospondyl’ microsaur tetrapods, and experimental studies on their hearing capabilities are therefore useful to understand the evolutionary and functional drivers behind the shift from aquatic to aerial hearing in early tetrapods. Here, we combine imaging techniques with neurophysiological measurements to resolve how the change from aquatic larvae to terrestrial adult affects the ear morphology and sensory capabilities of salamanders. We show that air-induced pressure detection enhances underwater hearing sensitivity of salamanders at frequencies above 120 Hz, and that both terrestrial adults and fully aquatic juvenile salamanders can detect airborne sound. Collectively, these findings suggest that early atympanic tetrapods may have been pre-equipped to aerial hearing and are able to hear airborne sound better than fish on land. When selected for, this rudimentary hearing could have led to the evolution of tympanic middle ears. PMID:25652830

  16. Effects of hatching time for larval ambystomatid salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boone, M.D.; Scott, D.E.; Niewiarowski, P.H.

    2002-01-01

    In aquatic communities, the phenology of breeding may influence species interactions. In the early-breeding marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum, timing of pond filling may determine whether interactions among larvae are competitive or predatory. The objectives of our studies were to determine how time of egg hatching affected size, larval period, and survival to metamorphosis in A. opacum, and if early-hatching in A. opacum influenced the competitive and predator-prey relationships with smaller larvae of the mole salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum. Salamander larvae were reared from hatching through metamorphosis in large, outdoor enclosures located in a natural temporary pond in Aiken County, South Carolina, in two experiments. In study 1, we reared early- and late-hatching A. opacum larvae separately from hatching through metamorphosis. In study 2, we examined how early- versus late-hatching A. opacum affected a syntopic species, A. talpoideum. In general, early-hatching A. opacum were larger and older at metamorphosis, had greater survival, and left the pond earlier than late-hatching larvae. Ambystoma talpoideum reared in the presence of early-hatching A. opacum had lower survival than in controls, suggesting that A. opacum may predate upon A. talpoideum when they gain a growth advantage over later-hatching larvae. Our studies demonstrate that time of pond filling and phenology of breeding may influence population dynamics and alter the nature of relationships that develop among species.

  17. Cannibalistic-morph Tiger Salamanders in unexpected ecological contexts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McLean, Kyle I.; Stockwell, Craig A.; Mushet, David M.

    2016-01-01

    Barred tiger salamanders [Ambystoma mavortium (Baird, 1850)] exhibit two trophic morphologies; a typical and a cannibalistic morph. Cannibalistic morphs, distinguished by enlarged vomerine teeth, wide heads, slender bodies, and cannibalistic tendencies, are often found where conspecifics occur at high density. During 2012 and 2013, 162 North Dakota wetlands and lakes were sampled for salamanders. Fifty-one contained A. mavortium populations; four of these contained cannibalistic morph individuals. Two populations with cannibalistic morphs occurred at sites with high abundances of conspecifics. However, the other two populations occurred at sites with unexpectedly low conspecific but high fathead minnow [Pimephales promelas (Rafinesque, 1820)] abundances. Further, no typical morphs were observed in either of these later two populations, contrasting with earlier research suggesting cannibalistic morphs only occur at low frequencies in salamander populations. Another anomaly of all four populations was the occurrence of cannibalistic morphs in permanent water sites, suggesting their presence was due to factors other than faster growth allowing them to occupy ephemeral habitats. Therefore, our findings suggest environmental factors inducing the cannibalistic morphism may be more complex than previously thought.

  18. Origin and diversification of a salamander sex pheromone system.

    PubMed

    Janssenswillen, Sunita; Vandebergh, Wim; Treer, Dag; Willaert, Bert; Maex, Margo; Van Bocxlaer, Ines; Bossuyt, Franky

    2015-02-01

    Sex pheromones form an important facet of reproductive strategies in many organisms throughout the Animal Kingdom. One of the oldest known sex pheromones in vertebrates are proteins of the Sodefrin Precursor-like Factor (SPF) system, which already had a courtship function in early salamanders. The subsequent evolution of salamanders is characterized by a diversification in courtship and reproduction, but little is known on how the SPF pheromone system diversified in relation to changing courtship strategies. Here, we combined transcriptomic, genomic, and phylogenetic analyses to investigate the evolution of the SPF pheromone system in nine salamandrid species with distinct courtship displays. First, we show that SPF originated from vertebrate three-finger proteins and diversified through multiple gene duplications in salamanders, while remaining a single copy in frogs. Next, we demonstrate that tail-fanning newts have retained a high phylogenetic diversity of SPFs, whereas loss of tail-fanning has been associated with a reduced importance or loss of SPF expression in the cloacal region. Finally, we show that the attractant decapeptide sodefrin is cleaved from larger SPF precursors that originated by a 62 bp insertion and consequent frameshift in an ancestral Cynops lineage. This led to the birth of a new decapeptide that rapidly evolved a pheromone function independently from uncleaved proteins. PMID:25415963

  19. Habitat relationships of eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) in Appalachian grazing systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Altered microclimates and vegetation structure after timber harvest can result in longterm population declines of some Appalachian salamanders. If changes in forest structure following harvest alter woodland salamander habitat quality, conversion of forests to pastures or meadows is believed to resu...

  20. Deep divergences and extensive phylogeographic structure in a clade of lowland tropical salamanders

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The complex geological history of Mesoamerica provides the opportunity to study the impact of multiple biogeographic barriers on population differentiation. We examine phylogeographic patterns in a clade of lowland salamanders (Bolitoglossa subgenus Nanotriton) using two mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene. We use several phylogeographic analyses to infer the history of this clade and test hypotheses regarding the geographic origin of species and location of genetic breaks within species. We compare our results to those for other taxa to determine if historical events impacted different species in a similar manner. Results Deep genetic divergence between species indicates that they are relatively old, and two of the three widespread species show strong phylogeographic structure. Comparison of mtDNA and nuclear gene trees shows no evidence of hybridization or introgression between species. Isolated populations of Bolitoglossa rufescens from Los Tuxtlas region constitute a separate lineage based on molecular data and morphology, and divergence between Los Tuxtlas and other areas appears to predate the arrival of B. rufescens in other areas west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Isthmus appears responsible for Pliocene vicariance within B. rufescens, as has been shown for other taxa. The Motagua-Polochic fault system does not appear to have caused population vicariance, unlike in other systems. Conclusions Species of Nanotriton have responded to some major geological events in the same manner as other taxa, particularly in the case of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The deep divergence of the Los Tuxtlas populations of B. rufescens from other populations highlights the contribution of this volcanic system to patterns of regional endemism, and morphological differences observed in the Los Tuxtlas populations suggests that they may represent an undescribed species of Bolitoglossa. The absence of phylogeographic structure in B. nympha, in contrast to the

  1. Mitochondrial evidence on the phylogenetic position of caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona).

    PubMed

    Zardoya, R; Meyer, A

    2000-06-01

    The complete nucleotide sequence (17,005 bp) of the mitochondrial genome of the caecilian Typhlonectes natans (Gymnophiona, Amphibia) was determined. This molecule is characterized by two distinctive genomic features: there are seven large 109-bp tandem repeats in the control region, and the sequence for the putative origin of replication of the L strand can potentially fold into two alternative secondary structures (one including part of the tRNA(Cys)). The new sequence data were used to assess the phylogenetic position of caecilians and to gain insights into the origin of living amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians). Phylogenetic analyses of two data sets-one combining protein-coding genes and the other combining tRNA genes-strongly supported a caecilian + frog clade and, hence, monophyly of modern amphibians. These two data sets could not further resolve relationships among the coelacanth, lungfishes, and tetrapods, but strongly supported diapsid affinities of turtles. Phylogenetic relationships among a larger set of species of frogs, salamanders, and caecilians were estimated with a mitochondrial rRNA data set. Maximum parsimony analysis of this latter data set also recovered monophyly of living amphibians and favored a frog + salamander (Batrachia) relationship. However, bootstrap support was only moderate at these nodes. This is likely due to an extensive among-site rate heterogeneity in the rRNA data set and the narrow window of time in which the three main groups of living amphibians were originated. PMID:10835397

  2. Telocytes in ileum of the Chinese giant salamander: ultrastructural evidence.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Hui; Zhong, Shengwei; Ge, Tingting; Peng, Shasha; Yu, Pengcheng; Zhou, Zuohong; Guo, Xiaoquan

    2016-03-01

    Telocytes (TCs) and their telopodes (Tps) have been found in various organs of many mammals, including in lower animals. However, knowledge of TCs in lower animals is still very limited. This study identified TCs and their Tps in the ileum of the Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus (Amphibia: Caudata), by transmission electron microscopy. The TCs/Tps were found near epithelial cells, glandular cells and unmyelinated nerve fibres. Moreover, exosomes were also found to be present in between TCs/Tps and these cells. PMID:26805522

  3. Earthworms, as ecosystem engineers, influence multiple aspects of a salamander's ecology.

    PubMed

    Ransom, Tami S

    2011-03-01

    Ecosystem engineers create habitat that can be used by other species in multiple ways, such as refugees from predators, places to breed, or areas with increased prey resources. I conducted a series of enclosure experiments to: (1) determine if salamanders use earthworm burrows, and (2) examine the potential influence of earthworm burrow use and indirect effects on salamander intra- and interspecific competition, predator avoidance, and seasonal performance. I found that one species of woodland salamander, Plethodon cinereus, used earthworm burrows 50% of the time when burrows were present. Neither adults nor juveniles of the congeneric P. glutinosus used earthworm burrows. Intraspecific, but not interspecific, competition by P. cinereus affected salamander behavior when earthworms were absent, with P. cinereus found under cover objects >70% of the time when alone or with a P. glutinosus, but only 40% of the time when with another P. cinereus. When earthworms were present, the behavior of P. cinereus was similar across salamander treatments. Earthworms decreased the amount of leaf litter and microinvertebrates, although this did not affect salamander mass. In subsequent experiments using only P. cinereus, the refuge provided by earthworm burrows increased the survival of P. cinereus over the winter and allowed P. cinereus to avoid being consumed by the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). Because earthworm burrows provide a refuge for P. cinereus during intraspecific encounters, in the presence of a predator and over the winter, they may serve as an important belowground-aboveground linkage in eastern forests where salamanders are common. PMID:20848134

  4. Science Review for the Scott Bar Salamander (Plethodon asupak) and the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (P. stormi): Biology, Taxonomy, Habitat, and Detection Probabilities/Occupancy

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeGross, Douglas J.; Bury, R. Bruce

    2007-01-01

    The Plethodon elongatus Complex in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion of southern Oregon and northern California includes three species: the Del Norte salamander, Plethodon elongatus; the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, P. stormi; and the Scott Bar salamander, P. asupak. This review aims to summarize the current literature and information available on select topics for P. stormi and P. asupak. These are both terrestrial salamanders belonging to the Family Plethodontidae, which contains more species and has a wider geographic distribution than any other family of salamanders (Wake 1966, 2006; Pough 1989). The genera of this family have greatly diversified ecologically across North America, Central America, northern South America, Sardinia, southeastern France and northwestern Italy, and have recently been discovered on the Korean peninsula (Min et al. 2005). The genus Plethodon is found exclusively in North America and is split into three distinct clades, based upon morphology and phylogenetics (Highton and Larson 1979): eastern small Plethodon, eastern large Plethodon, and the western Plethodon. The western Plethodon are the greatest representation of Plethodontidae in the Pacific Northwest, with 8 species. The two species with the most restricted ranges of these regional congeners are the Siskiyou Mountains and Scott Bar salamanders. These salamanders occupy the interior of the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion which straddles the California and Oregon state lines, between Siskiyou County (CA) and Jackson and Josephine Counties (OR). The relatively recent discovery of P. asupak (Mead et al. 2005) and the limited range of both species have created an environment of uncertain conservation status for these species. This review will focus on four central topics of concern for land and resource managers: Biology; Taxonomy; Habitat; and Detection Probabilities/Occupancy.

  5. Extreme negative temperatures and body mass loss in the Siberian salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii, amphibia, hynobiidae).

    PubMed

    Berman, D I; Meshcheryakova, E N; Bulakhova, N A

    2016-05-01

    Frozen Siberian salamander safely tolerates long (45 days) stay at-35°C. Short-term (3 days) cooling down to-50°C was tolerable for 40% of adult individuals; down to-55°C, for 80% of the underyearlings. Generally, the salamanders lose about 28% of the body mass during the pre-hibernating period (before winter, at temperatures as low as 0°C) and during the process of freezing (as low as-5°C). The body weight remained constant upon further cooling (to-35°C). The frozen salamanders have no physiological mechanisms protecting from sublimation. PMID:27411827

  6. A field test of the effect of acidic rain on ion balance in a woodland salamander

    SciTech Connect

    Frisbie, M.P.; Wyman, R.L. )

    1994-06-01

    Earlier laboratory studies demonstrated that red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, are susceptible to osmotic disruption by low pH substrates. In natural systems, however, acidic input from precipitation may be mediated by soils before it impacts salamanders. We tested the effect of acidic rain on sodium balance in salamanders by confining individuals in enclosure in two forest types (hemlock, beech) for 34 d. Enclosures received artificial rain of either pH 3 or 5 every 3-4 d. Soils inside enclosures in the hemlock forest were more acidic than those in the beech forest at the outset. At termination, [H[sup +

  7. Conservation genetics of the endangered Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah, Plethodontidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carpenter, D.W.; Jung, R.E.; Sites, J.W., Jr.

    2001-01-01

    The Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) is restricted to three isolated talus outcrops in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA and has one of the smallest ranges of any tetrapod vertebrate. This species was listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act in 1989 over concern that direct competition with the red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus), successional habitat changes, and human impacts may cause its decline and possible extinction. We address two issues herein: (1) whether extensive introgression (through long-term hybridization) is present between the two species and threatens the survival of P. shenandoah, and (2) the level of population structure within P. shenandoah. We provide evidence from mtDNA haplotypes that shows no genetic differentiation among the three isolates of P. shenandoah, suggesting that their fragmentation is a geologically recent event, and/or that the isolates are still connected by occasional gene flow. There is also no evidence for extensive introgression of alleles in either direction between P. cinereus and P. shenandoah, which suggests that P. shenandoah may not be in danger of being genetically swamped out through hybridization with P. cinereus.

  8. Elevated plasma corticosterone increases metabolic rate in a terrestrial salamander.

    PubMed

    Wack, Corina L; DuRant, Sarah E; Hopkins, William A; Lovern, Matthew B; Feldhoff, Richard C; Woodley, Sarah K

    2012-02-01

    Plasma glucocorticoid hormones (GCs) increase intermediary metabolism, which may be reflected in whole-animal metabolic rate. Studies in fish, birds, and reptiles have shown that GCs may alter whole-animal energy expenditure, but results are conflicting and often involve GC levels that are not physiologically relevant. A previous study in red-legged salamanders found that male courtship pheromone increased plasma corticosterone (CORT; the primary GC in amphibians) concentrations in males, which could elevate metabolic processes to sustain courtship behaviors. To understand the possible metabolic effect of elevated plasma CORT, we measured the effects of male courtship pheromone and exogenous application of CORT on oxygen consumption in male red-legged salamanders (Plethodon shermani). Exogenous application of CORT elevated plasma CORT to physiologically relevant levels. Compared to treatment with male courtship pheromone and vehicle, treatment with CORT increased oxygen consumption rates for several hours after treatment, resulting in 12% more oxygen consumed (equivalent to 0.33 J) during our first 2h sampling period. Contrary to our previous work, treatment with pheromone did not increase plasma CORT, perhaps because subjects used in this study were not in breeding condition. Pheromone application did not affect respiration rates. Our study is one of the few to evaluate the influence of physiologically relevant elevations in CORT on whole-animal metabolism in vertebrates, and the first to show that elevated plasma CORT increases metabolism in an amphibian. PMID:22047668

  9. Strong selection barriers explain microgeographic adaptation in wild salamander populations.

    PubMed

    Richardson, Jonathan L; Urban, Mark C

    2013-06-01

    Microgeographic adaptation occurs when populations evolve divergent fitness advantages across the spatial scales at which focal organisms regularly disperse. Although an increasing number of studies find evidence for microgeographic adaptation, the underlying causes often remain unknown. Adaptive divergence requires some combination of limited gene flow and strong divergent natural selection among populations. In this study, we estimated the relative influence of selection, gene flow, and the spatial arrangement of populations in shaping patterns of adaptive divergence in natural populations of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Within the study region, A. maculatum co-occur with the predatory marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) in some ponds, and past studies have established a link between predation risk and adaptive trait variation in A. maculatum. Using 14 microsatellite loci, we found a significant pattern of genetic divergence among A. maculatum populations corresponding to levels of A. opacum predation risk. Additionally, A. maculatum foraging rate was strongly associated with predation risk, genetic divergence, and the spatial relationship of ponds on the landscape. Our results indicate the sorting of adaptive genotypes by selection regime and strongly suggest that substantial selective barriers operate against gene flow. This outcome suggests that microgeographic adaptation in A. maculatum is possible because strong antagonistic selection quickly eliminates maladapted phenotypes despite ongoing and substantial immigration. Increasing evidence for microgeographic adaptation suggests a strong role for selective barriers in counteracting the homogenizing influence of gene flow. PMID:23730765

  10. Evidence for Sex Chromosome Turnover in Proteid Salamanders.

    PubMed

    Sessions, Stanley K; Bizjak Mali, Lilijana; Green, David M; Trifonov, Vladimir; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm

    2016-01-01

    A major goal of genomic and reproductive biology is to understand the evolution of sex determination and sex chromosomes. Species of the 2 genera of the Salamander family Proteidae - Necturus of eastern North America, and Proteus of Southern Europe - have similar-looking karyotypes with the same chromosome number (2n = 38), which differentiates them from all other salamanders. However, Necturus possesses strongly heteromorphic X and Y sex chromosomes that Proteus lacks. Since the heteromorphic sex chromosomes of Necturus were detectable only with C-banding, we hypothesized that we could use C-banding to find sex chromosomes in Proteus. We examined mitotic material from colchicine-treated intestinal epithelium, and meiotic material from testes in specimens of Proteus, representing 3 genetically distinct populations in Slovenia. We compared these results with those from Necturus. We performed FISH to visualize telomeric sequences in meiotic bivalents. Our results provide evidence that Proteus represents an example of sex chromosome turnover in which a Necturus-like Y-chromosome has become permanently translocated to another chromosome converting heteromorphic sex chromosomes to homomorphic sex chromosomes. These results may be key to understanding some unusual aspects of demographics and reproductive biology of Proteus, and are discussed in the context of models of the evolution of sex chromosomes in amphibians. PMID:27351721

  11. Sensitivity of two salamander (Ambystoma) species to ultraviolet radiation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Calfee, R.D.; Bridges, C.M.; Little, E.E.

    2006-01-01

    Increased ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation reaching the Earth's surface has been implicated in amphibian declines. Recent studies have shown that many amphibian species have differences in sensitivity depending on developmental stage. Embryos and larvae of Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamander) and larvae of Ambystoma talpoideum (Mole Salamander) were exposed to five simulated UV-B treatments in controlled laboratory experiments to determine the relative sensitivity of different lifestages. Hatching success of the embryos exceeded 95% in all treatments; however, the larvae of both species exhibited greater sensitivity to UV-B exposure. Older larvae of A. maculatum that were not exposed to UV-B as embryos were more sensitive than larvae that had hatched during exposure to UV-B. Growth of surviving larvae of A. maculatum was significantly reduced as UV-B intensity increased, whereas growth of A. talpoideum was unaffected. These results were compared to ambient UV-B conditions in natural environments. It appears that the embryo stage is relatively unaffected by UV-B levels observed in natural habitats, probably because of protection from vegetation, organic matter in the water column, oviposition depth, and egg jelly. The larval stage of these species may be at greater risk, particularly if there is an increase in UV-B radiation exposure caused by increases in water clarity and/or decreases in dissolved organic carbon.

  12. Larval salamanders and channel geomorphology are indicators of hydrologic permanence in forested headwater streams

    EPA Science Inventory

    Regulatory agencies need rapid indicators of hydrologic permanence for jurisdictional determinations of headwater streams. Our study objective was to assess the utility of larval salamander presence and assemblage structure and habitat variables for determining stream permanence ...

  13. SPATIALLY AUTOCORRELATED DEMOGRAPHY AND INTERPOND MIGRATION IN THE CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER (AMBYSTOME CALIFORNIENSE)

    EPA Science Inventory

    We investigated the metapopulation structure of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) using a combination of indirect and direct methods to evaluate two key requirements of modern metapopulation models: 1) that patches support somewhat independent populations ...

  14. [Phylogenetic relationships among Asiatic salamanders of the genus Salamandrella based on variability of nuclear genes].

    PubMed

    Maliarchuk, B A; Derenko, M V; Denisova, G A

    2015-01-01

    Based on sequence variation of three nuclear genome genes (BDNF, POMC, and RAG1), the phylogenetic relationships among Asiatic salamanders of the genus Salamandrella, Siberian salamander (S. keyserlingii) and Schrenk salamander (S. schrenkii), were examined. Both species demonstrated high levels of heterozygosity determined by intraspecific polymorphism. Fixed interspecific differences were revealed at one nucleotide position of the RAG1 gene, and thus the level of interspecific divergence over the three genes constituted only 0.04%. Analysis of the RAG1 polymorphism across the whole range of S. keyserlingii showed that only one gene variant, encoding for modified RAG1 recombinase, had the highest distribution to the north of the Amur region (west and northeast of Siberia). It is possible that the changes in the RAG1 gene in Siberian salamander are of an adaptive nature. However, cases of interspecific hybridization were identified in Jewish autonomous oblast (JAO), which contains one of the range borders between the two Salamandrella species. PMID:25857197

  15. Reintroduction and Post-Release Survival of a Living Fossil: The Chinese Giant Salamander

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lu; Jiang, Wei; Wang, Qi-Jun; Zhao, Hu; Zhang, Hong-Xing; Marcec, Ruth M.; Willard, Scott T.; Kouba, Andrew J.

    2016-01-01

    Captive rearing and reintroduction / translocation are increasingly used as tools to supplement wild populations of threatened species. Reintroducing captive-reared Chinese giant salamanders may help to augment the declining wild populations and conserve this critically endangered amphibian. We released 31 captive-reared juvenile giant salamanders implanted with VHF radio transmitters at the Heihe River (n = 15) and the Donghe River (n = 16) in the Qinling Mountains of central China. Salamanders were monitored every day for survival from April 28th 2013 to September 3rd 2014. We attempted to recapture all living individuals by the end of the study, measured their body mass and total body length, and checked for abnormalities and presence of external parasites. Two salamanders at the Heihe River and 10 animals at the Donghe River survived through the project timeline. Nine salamanders were confirmed dead, while the status of the other 10 animals was undetermined. The annual survival rate of giant salamanders at the Donghe River (0.702) was 1.7-fold higher than that at the Heihe River (0.405). Survival increased as individuals were held longer following surgery, whereas body mass did not have a significant impact on survival rate. All salamanders recaptured from the Donghe River (n = 8) increased in mass (0.50 ± 0.13 kg) and length (5.5 ± 1.5 cm) after approximately 11 months in the wild, and they were only 7% lighter than wild animals of the same length (mean residual = -0.033 ± 0.025). Our results indicate that captive-reared Chinese giant salamanders can survive in the wild one year after release and adequate surgical recovery time is extremely important to post-release survival. Future projects may reintroduce older juveniles to achieve better survival and longer monitoring duration. PMID:27258650

  16. Reintroduction and Post-Release Survival of a Living Fossil: The Chinese Giant Salamander.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Lu; Jiang, Wei; Wang, Qi-Jun; Zhao, Hu; Zhang, Hong-Xing; Marcec, Ruth M; Willard, Scott T; Kouba, Andrew J

    2016-01-01

    Captive rearing and reintroduction / translocation are increasingly used as tools to supplement wild populations of threatened species. Reintroducing captive-reared Chinese giant salamanders may help to augment the declining wild populations and conserve this critically endangered amphibian. We released 31 captive-reared juvenile giant salamanders implanted with VHF radio transmitters at the Heihe River (n = 15) and the Donghe River (n = 16) in the Qinling Mountains of central China. Salamanders were monitored every day for survival from April 28th 2013 to September 3rd 2014. We attempted to recapture all living individuals by the end of the study, measured their body mass and total body length, and checked for abnormalities and presence of external parasites. Two salamanders at the Heihe River and 10 animals at the Donghe River survived through the project timeline. Nine salamanders were confirmed dead, while the status of the other 10 animals was undetermined. The annual survival rate of giant salamanders at the Donghe River (0.702) was 1.7-fold higher than that at the Heihe River (0.405). Survival increased as individuals were held longer following surgery, whereas body mass did not have a significant impact on survival rate. All salamanders recaptured from the Donghe River (n = 8) increased in mass (0.50 ± 0.13 kg) and length (5.5 ± 1.5 cm) after approximately 11 months in the wild, and they were only 7% lighter than wild animals of the same length (mean residual = -0.033 ± 0.025). Our results indicate that captive-reared Chinese giant salamanders can survive in the wild one year after release and adequate surgical recovery time is extremely important to post-release survival. Future projects may reintroduce older juveniles to achieve better survival and longer monitoring duration. PMID:27258650

  17. Tiger salamanders' (Ambystoma tigrinum) response learning and usage of visual cues.

    PubMed

    Kundey, Shannon M A; Millar, Roberto; McPherson, Justin; Gonzalez, Maya; Fitz, Aleyna; Allen, Chadbourne

    2016-05-01

    We explored tiger salamanders' (Ambystoma tigrinum) learning to execute a response within a maze as proximal visual cue conditions varied. In Experiment 1, salamanders learned to turn consistently in a T-maze for reinforcement before the maze was rotated. All learned the initial task and executed the trained turn during test, suggesting that they learned to demonstrate the reinforced response during training and continued to perform it during test. In a second experiment utilizing a similar procedure, two visual cues were placed consistently at the maze junction. Salamanders were reinforced for turning towards one cue. Cue placement was reversed during test. All learned the initial task, but executed the trained turn rather than turning towards the visual cue during test, evidencing response learning. In Experiment 3, we investigated whether a compound visual cue could control salamanders' behaviour when it was the only cue predictive of reinforcement in a cross-maze by varying start position and cue placement. All learned to turn in the direction indicated by the compound visual cue, indicating that visual cues can come to control their behaviour. Following training, testing revealed that salamanders attended to stimuli foreground over background features. Overall, these results suggest that salamanders learn to execute responses over learning to use visual cues but can use visual cues if required. Our success with this paradigm offers the potential in future studies to explore salamanders' cognition further, as well as to shed light on how features of the tiger salamanders' life history (e.g. hibernation and metamorphosis) impact cognition. PMID:26796198

  18. Diagnostic and molecular evaluation of three iridovirus-associated salamander mortality events

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Docherty, D.E.; Meteyer, C.U.; Wang, Jingyuan; Mao, J.; Case, S.T.; Chinchar, V.G.

    2003-01-01

    In 1998 viruses were isolated from tiger salamander larvae (Ambystoma tigrinum diaboli and A. tigrinum melanostictum) involved in North Dakota and Utah (USA) mortality events and spotted salamander (A. maculatum) larvae in a third event in Maine (USA). Although sympatric caudates and anurans were present at all three sites only ambystomid larvae appeared to be affected. Mortality at the North Dakota site was in the thousands while at the Utah and Maine sites mortality was in the hundreds. Sick larvae were lethargic and slow moving. They swam in circles with obvious buoyancy problems and were unable to remain upright. On the ventral surface, near the gills and hind limbs, red spots or swollen areas were noted. Necropsy findings included: hemorrhages and ulceration of the skin, subcutaneous and intramuscular edema, swollen and pale livers with multifocal hemorrhage, and distended fluid-filled intestines with areas of hemorrhage. Light microscopy revealed intracytoplasmic inclusions, suggestive of a viral infection, in a variety of organs. Electron microscopy of ultra thin sections of the same tissues revealed iridovirus-like particles within the inclusions. These viruses were isolated from a variety of organs, indicating a systemic infection. Representative viral isolates from the three mortality events were characterized using molecular assays. Characterization confirmed that the viral isolates were iridoviruses and that the two tiger salamander isolates were similar and could be distinguished from the spotted salamander isolate. The spotted salamander isolate was similar to frog virus 3, the type species of the genus Ranavirus, while the tiger salamander isolates were not. These data indicate that different species of salamanders can become infected and die in association with different iridoviruses. Challenge assays are required to determine the fish and amphibian host range of these isolates and to assess the susceptibility of tiger and spotted salamanders to

  19. Plethodon cinerius (eastern red-backed salamander) movement

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sterrett, Sean; Brand, Adrianne; Fields, William R.; Katz, Rachel A.; Grant, Evan H. Campbell

    2015-01-01

    Lungless salamanders (family Plethodontidae) are relatively sedentary and are presumed to have limited dispersal ability (Marsh et al. 2004. Ecology 85:3396–3405). Site fidelity in Plethodontidae is high, and individuals displaced 90 m return to home territories (Kleeberger and Werner 1982. Copeia 1982:409–415). Individuals defend territories (Jaeger et al. 1982. Anim. Behav. 30:490–496) and female home ranges have been estimated to be 24.34 m2 (Kleeberger and Werner 1982, op. cit.). Females may seek out suitable subsurface habitat to oviposit eggs, yet little is known about their maximum movement distances (Petranka 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. 587 pp.).On 18 September 2014, a female P. cinereus (lead back morphotype; SVL = 44.68 mm; 0.89 g) was found under a coverboard during a standard sampling event and uniquely marked using visual implant elastomer at the S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, Massachusetts, USA (42.59280°N, 72.58070°W, datum WGS84; elev. 74 m). This individual was subsequently recaptured at ~1500 h on 8 October 2014 under a coverboard within 3 m of the original capture location and then again ~1430 h on 16 October 2014 under a log, within the same forest patch, though in a 50 x 150 m area adjacent to the original study area. Because we found the marked salamander while collecting multiple individuals for a laboratory study, the exact recapture location of the marked individual is not known. However, the distance between the 8 October capture location and the nearest edge of the 16 October search area (i.e. 50 x 150 m) was 143 m, indicating a minimum movement distance. As far as we are aware, this is the longest recorded movement for P. cinereus by more than 53 m (Kleeberger and Werner 1982, op. cit.). This finding followed a rain event of 1.63 cm within 24 h and the second largest sustained rain event during October. The movement we observed may have been due to

  20. Three decades of urbanization: Estimating the impact of land-cover change on stream salamander populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Price, S.J.; Dorcas, M.E.; Gallant, A.L.; Klaver, R.W.; Willson, J.D.

    2006-01-01

    Urbanization has become the dominant form of landscape disturbance in parts of the United States. Small streams in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States support high densities of salamanders and are often the first habitats to be affected by landscape-altering factors such as urbanization. We used US Geological Survey land cover data from 1972 to 2000 and a relation between stream salamanders and land cover, established from recent research, to estimate the impact of contemporary land-cover change on the abundance of stream salamanders near Davidson, North Carolina, a Piedmont locale that has experienced rapid urbanization during this time. Our analysis indicates that southern two-lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) populations have decreased from 32% to 44% while northern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus) have decreased from 21% to 30% over the last three decades. Our results suggest that the widespread conversion of forest to urban land in small catchments has likely resulted in a substantial decline of populations of stream salamanders and could have serious effects on stream ecosystems. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Soil acidity affects distribution, behavior, and physiology of the salamander Plethodon cinereus

    SciTech Connect

    Wyman, R.L.; Hawksley-Lescault, D.S.

    1987-12-01

    Censuses at two sites in Delaware County, New York from spring 1981 through spring 1985 indicated that the density and distribution of Plethodon cinereus were influenced by soil pH but not by soil temperature or moisture. Of 1044 1-m/sup 2/ quadrats of forest litter searched, 284 had a pH of 3.7 or less and only 25 of these (8.8%) contained salamanders. Of 760 quadrats with a pH 3.8 or more, 386 (50.8%) contained salamanders. Juvenile salamanders were never found on soils with a pH less than or equal to 3.7. Seasonal salamander density was correlated (r = -0.92) with the percentage of quadrats with a pH of 3.7 and less. Salamanders apparently were excluded from 27% of forest habitat because of low soil pH. In the laboratory, P. cinereus preferred to occupy substrates near neutral pH when given a choice among three levels of substrate acidity. The acutely lethal pH was between 2.5 and 3 and the 8-mo chronically lethal pH was between 3 and 4. Growth and respiration were reduced at low pHs. The influence of soil pH on salamander distribution might fundamentally change the forest floor decomposer food web of which P. cinereus is an upper-level consumer.

  2. Leaf litter bags as an index to populations of northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chalmers, R.J.; Droege, S.

    2002-01-01

    Concern about recent amphibian declines has led to research on amphibian populations, but few statistically tested, standardized methods of counting amphibians exist. We tested whether counts of northern two-lined salamander larvae (Eurycea bislineata) sheltered in leaf litter bags--a relatively new, easily replicable survey technique--had a linear correlation to total number of larvae. Using experimental enclosures placed in streams, we compared number of salamanders found in artificial habitat (leaf litter bags) with total number of salamanders in each enclosure. Low numbers of the animals were found in leaf litter bags, and the relative amount of variation in the index (number of animals in leaf litter bags compared to total number of animals in stream enclosures) was high. The index of salamanders in leaf litter bags was not significantly related to total number of salamanders in enclosures for two-thirds of the replicates or with pooled replicates (P= 0.066). Consequently, we cannot recommend using leaf litter bags to index populations of northern two-lined salamanders.

  3. Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ford, W. Mark; Mahoney, Kathleen R.; Russell, Kevin R.; Rodrigue, Jane L.; Riddle, Jason D.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Adams, Mary Beth

    2015-01-01

    Forest management practices that mimic natural canopy disturbances, including prescribed fire and timber harvests, may reduce competition and facilitate establishment of favorable vegetative species within various ecosystems. Fire suppression in the central Appalachian region for almost a century has contributed to a transition from oak-dominated to more mesophytic, fire-intolerant forest communities. Prescribed fire coupled with timber removal is currently implemented to aid in oak regeneration and establishment but responses of woodland salamanders to this complex silvicultural system is poorly documented. The purpose of our research was to determine how woodland salamanders respond to shelterwood harvests following successive burns in a central Appalachian mixed-oak forest. Woodland salamanders were surveyed using coverboard arrays in May, July, and August–September 2011 and 2012. Surveys were conducted within fenced shelterwood-burn (prescribed fires, shelterwood harvest, and fencing to prevent white-tailed deer [Odocoileus virginianus] herbivory), shelterwood-burn (prescribed fires and shelterwood harvest), and control plots. Relative abundance was modeled in relation to habitat variables measured within treatments for mountain dusky salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus), slimy salamanders (Plethodon glutinosus), and eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Mountain dusky salamander relative abundance was positively associated with canopy cover and there were significantly more individuals within controls than either shelterwood-burn or fenced shelterwood-burn treatments. Conversely, habitat variables associated with slimy salamanders and eastern red-backed salamanders did not differ among treatments. Salamander age-class structure within controls did not differ from shelterwood-burn or fenced shelterwood-burn treatments for any species. Overall, the woodland salamander assemblage remained relatively intact throughout the shelterwoodburn

  4. Road deicing salt irreversibly disrupts osmoregulation of salamander egg clutches.

    PubMed

    Karraker, Nancy E; Gibbs, James P

    2011-03-01

    It has been postulated that road deicing salts are sufficiently diluted by spring rains to ameliorate any physiological impacts to amphibians breeding in wetlands near roads. We tested this conjecture by exposing clutches of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) to three chloride concentrations (1 mg/L, 145 mg/L, 945 mg/L) for nine days, then transferred clutches to control water for nine days, and measured change in mass at three-day intervals. We measured mass change because water uptake by clutches reduces risks to embryos associated with freezing, predation, and disease. Clutches in controls sequestered water asymptotically. Those in the moderate concentrations lost 18% mass initially and regained 14% after transfer to control water. Clutches in high concentration lost 33% mass and then lost an additional 8% after transfer. Our results suggest that spring rains do not ameliorate the effects of deicing salts in wetlands with extremely high chloride concentrations. PMID:21147507

  5. Innovative techniques for sampling stream-inhabiting salamanders

    SciTech Connect

    T.M. Luhring; C.A. Young

    2006-01-01

    Although salamanders are excellent indicators of environmental health, the ability to catch them efficiently without substantially disrupting their habitat is not always practical or even possible with current techniques. Ripping open logs and raking leaf packs onto shore (Bruce 1972) are examples of such practices that are disruptive but widely used by herpetologists who have no other means of efficient collection. Drift fences with pitfall traps are effective in catching animals moving within or between habitats but are time consuming and require an initial financial investment and constant upkeep to maintain functionality and prevent animal fatalities (Gibbons and Semlitsch 1981). One current alternative to drift fences is the use of coverboards (Grant et al. 1992), which require less maintenance and sampling effort than drift fences. However, coverboards do not integrate captures over a long time period and often result in a lower number of captures per trap (Grant et al. 1992).

  6. Ambient ultraviolet radiation causes mortality in salamander eggs

    SciTech Connect

    Blaustein, A.R.; Edmond, B.; Kiesecker, J.M.

    1995-08-01

    Previous research has shown that amphibian species have differential sensitivity to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. In some anuran species, ambient levels of UV-B cause mortality in embryonic stages and hatching success is significantly reduced. Projected increases in UV-B may affect an increasing number of species. The adverse effects of UV-B may eventually be manifested at the population level and may ultimately contribute to population declines. Using field experiments, we investigated the effects of ambient UV-B on salamander (Ambystoma gracile) embryos developing at natural oviposition sites. We show that the hatching success of eggs of A. gracile shielded from UV-B is significantly higher than those not shielded from UV-B. 27 refs., 1 fig.

  7. Declines in woodland salamander abundance associated with non-native earthworm and plant invasions.

    PubMed

    Maerz, John C; Nuzzo, Victoria A; Blossey, Bernd

    2009-08-01

    Factors that negatively affect the quality of wildlife habitat are a major concern for conservation. Non-native species invasions, in particular, are perceived as a global threat to the quality of wildlife habitat. Recent evidence indicates that some changes to understory plant communities in northern temperate forests of North America, including invasions by 3 non-native plant species, are facilitated by non-native earthworm invasion. Furthermore, non-native earthworm invasions cause a reduction in leaf litter on the forest floor, and the loss of forest leaf litter is commonly associated with declines in forest fauna, including amphibians. We conducted a mark-recapture study of woodland salamander abundance across plant invasion fronts at 10 sites to determine whether earthworm or plant invasions were associated with reduced salamander abundance. Salamander abundance declined exponentially with decreasing leaf litter volume. There was no significant relationship between invasive plant cover and salamander abundance, independent of the effects of leaf litter loss due to earthworm invasion. An analysis of selected salamander prey abundance (excluding earthworms) at 4 sites showed that prey abundance declined with declining leaf litter. The loss of leaf litter layers due to non-native earthworm invasions appears to be negatively affecting woodland salamander abundance, in part, because of declines in the abundance of small arthropods that are a stable resource for salamanders. Our results demonstrate that earthworm invasions pose a significant threat to woodland amphibian fauna in the northeastern United States, and that plant invasions are symptomatic of degraded amphibian habitat but are not necessarily drivers of habitat degradation. PMID:19236449

  8. IMPACT OF GUTHION ON SURVIVAL AND GROWTH OF THE FROG PSEUDACRIS REGILLA AND THE SALAMANDERS AMBYSTOMA GRACILE AND AMBYSTOMA MACULATUM

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effects of the insecticides Guthion (technical grade) and Guthion 2S(commercial formulation) on survival and growth of tadpoles of the Pacific treefrog Pseudacris regilla, and larvae of the Northwestern salamander Ambystoma gracile and the spotted salamander Ambystoma macula...

  9. 76 FR 44036 - Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the California Tiger Salamander, AT&T Portable...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-07-22

    ... Salamander, AT&T Portable Generator Storage Facility, Yolo County, CA AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service... the construction of a portable generator storage facility located at 26120 County Road 6, Dunnigan, CA... for the California tiger salamander into a new storage facility for portable generators within...

  10. Multiple nuclear gene sequences identify phylogenetic species boundaries in the rapidly radiating clade of Mexican ambystomatid salamanders.

    PubMed

    Weisrock, David W; Shaffer, H Bradley; Storz, Brian L; Storz, Shonna R; Voss, S Randal

    2006-08-01

    Delimiting the boundaries of species involved in radiations is critical to understanding the tempo and mode of lineage formation. Single locus gene trees may or may not reflect the underlying pattern of population divergence and lineage formation, yet they constitute the vast majority of the empirical data in species radiations. In this study we make use of an expressed sequence tag (EST) database to perform nuclear (nDNA) and mitochondrial (mtDNA) genealogical tests of species boundaries in Ambystoma ordinarium, a member of an adaptive radiation of metamorphic and paedomorphic salamanders (the Ambystoma tigrinum complex) that have diversified across terrestrial and aquatic environments. Gene tree comparisons demonstrate extensive nonmonophyly in the mtDNA genealogy of A. ordinarium, while seven of eight independent nuclear loci resolve the species as monophyletic or nearly so, and diagnose it as a well-resolved genealogical species. A differential introgression hypothesis is supported by the observation that western A. ordinarium localities contain mtDNA haplotypes that are identical or minimally diverged from haplotypes sampled from a nearby paedomorphic species, Ambystoma dumerilii, while most nDNA trees place these species in distant phylogenetic positions. These results provide a strong example of how historical introgression can lead to radical differences between gene trees and species histories, even among currently allopatric species with divergent life history adaptations and morphologies. They also demonstrate how EST-based nuclear resources can be used to more fully resolve the phylogenetic history of species radiations. PMID:16842422

  11. Salamanders increase their feeding activity when infected with the pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Hess, Alexandra; McAllister, Caroline; DeMarchi, Joseph; Zidek, Makenzie; Murone, Julie; Venesky, Matthew D

    2015-10-27

    Immune function is a costly line of defense against parasitism. When infected with a parasite, hosts frequently lose mass due to these costs. However, some infected hosts (e.g. highly resistant individuals) can clear infections with seemingly little fitness losses, but few studies have tested how resistant hosts mitigate these costly immune defenses. We explored this topic using eastern red-backed salamanders Plethodon cinereus and the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd is generally lethal for amphibians, and stereotypical symptoms of infection include loss in mass and deficits in feeding. However, individuals of P. cinereus can clear their Bd infections with seemingly few fitness costs. We conducted an experiment in which we repeatedly observed the feeding activity of Bd-infected and non-infected salamanders. We found that Bd-infected salamanders generally increased their feeding activity compared to non-infected salamanders. The fact that we did not observe any differences in mass change between the treatments suggests that increased feeding might help Bd-infected salamanders minimize the costs of an effective immune response. PMID:26503775

  12. Estimating superpopulation size and annual probability of breeding for pond-breeding salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kinkead, K.E.; Otis, D.L.

    2007-01-01

    It has long been accepted that amphibians can skip breeding in any given year, and environmental conditions act as a cue for breeding. In this paper, we quantify temporary emigration or nonbreeding probability for mole and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum and A. maculatum). We estimated that 70% of mole salamanders may skip breeding during an average rainfall year and 90% may skip during a drought year. Spotted salamanders may be more likely to breed, with only 17% avoiding the breeding pond during an average rainfall year. We illustrate how superpopulations can be estimated using temporary emigration probability estimates. The superpopulation is the total number of salamanders associated with a given breeding pond. Although most salamanders stay within a certain distance of a breeding pond for the majority of their life spans, it is difficult to determine true overall population sizes for a given site if animals are only captured during a brief time frame each year with some animals unavailable for capture at any time during a given year. ?? 2007 by The Herpetologists' League, Inc.

  13. Decoding the mechanisms of gait generation in salamanders by combining neurobiology, modeling and robotics.

    PubMed

    Bicanski, Andrej; Ryczko, Dimitri; Knuesel, Jérémie; Harischandra, Nalin; Charrier, Vanessa; Ekeberg, Örjan; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Ijspeert, Auke Jan

    2013-10-01

    Vertebrate animals exhibit impressive locomotor skills. These locomotor skills are due to the complex interactions between the environment, the musculo-skeletal system and the central nervous system, in particular the spinal locomotor circuits. We are interested in decoding these interactions in the salamander, a key animal from an evolutionary point of view. It exhibits both swimming and stepping gaits and is faced with the problem of producing efficient propulsive forces using the same musculo-skeletal system in two environments with significant physical differences in density, viscosity and gravitational load. Yet its nervous system remains comparatively simple. Our approach is based on a combination of neurophysiological experiments, numerical modeling at different levels of abstraction, and robotic validation using an amphibious salamander-like robot. This article reviews the current state of our knowledge on salamander locomotion control, and presents how our approach has allowed us to obtain a first conceptual model of the salamander spinal locomotor networks. The model suggests that the salamander locomotor circuit can be seen as a lamprey-like circuit controlling axial movements of the trunk and tail, extended by specialized oscillatory centers controlling limb movements. The interplay between the two types of circuits determines the mode of locomotion under the influence of sensory feedback and descending drive, with stepping gaits at low drive, and swimming at high drive. PMID:23430277

  14. Larval long-toed salamanders incur nonconsumptive effects in the presence of nonnative trout

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kenison, Erin K.; Litt, Andrea R.; Pilliod, David; McMahon, Thomas E.

    2016-01-01

    Predators can influence prey directly through consumption or indirectly through nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) by altering prey behavior, morphology, and life history. We investigated whether predator-avoidance behaviors by larval long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in lakes with nonnative trout result in NCEs on morphology and development. Field studies in lakes with and without trout were corroborated by experimental enclosures, where prey were exposed only to visual and chemical cues of predators. We found that salamanders in lakes with trout were consistently smaller than in lakes without trout: 38% lower weight, 24% shorter body length, and 29% shorter tail length. Similarly, salamanders in protective enclosures grew 2.9 times slower when exposed to visual and olfactory trout cues than when no trout cues were present. Salamanders in trout-free lakes and enclosures were 22.7 times and 1.48 times, respectively, more likely to metamorphose during the summer season than those exposed to trout in lakes and/or their cues. Observed changes in larval growth rate and development likely resulted from a facultative response to predator-avoidance behavior and demonstrate NCEs occurred even when predation risk was only perceived. Reduced body size and growth, as well as delayed metamorphosis, could have ecological consequences for salamander populations existing with fish if those effects carry-over into lower recruitment, survival, and fecundity.

  15. Hybrid vigor between native and introduced salamanders raises new challenges for conservation

    PubMed Central

    Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M.; Shaffer, H. Bradley

    2007-01-01

    Hybridization between differentiated lineages can have many different consequences depending on fitness variation among hybrid offspring. When introduced organisms hybridize with natives, the ensuing evolutionary dynamics may substantially complicate conservation decisions. Understanding the fitness consequences of hybridization is an important first step in predicting its evolutionary outcome and conservation impact. Here, we measured natural selection caused by differential viability of hybrid larvae in wild populations where native California Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) and introduced Barred Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium) have been hybridizing for 50–60 years. We found strong evidence of hybrid vigor; mixed-ancestry genotypes had higher survival rates than genotypes containing mostly native or mostly introduced alleles. Hybrid vigor may be caused by heterozygote advantage (overdominance) or recombinant hybrid vigor (due to epistasis or complementation). These genetic mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, and we find statistical support for both overdominant and recombinant contributions to hybrid vigor in larval tiger salamanders. Because recombinant homozygous genotypes can breed true, a single highly fit genotype with a mosaic of native and introduced alleles may eventually replace the historically pure California Tiger Salamander (listed as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act). The management implications of this outcome are complex: Genetically pure populations may not persist into the future, but average fitness and population viability of admixed California Tiger Salamanders may be enhanced. The ecological consequences for other native species are unknown. PMID:17884982

  16. Hybridization during altitudinal range shifts: nuclear introgression leads to extensive cyto-nuclear discordance in the fire salamander.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Ricardo J; Martínez-Solano, Iñigo; Buckley, David

    2016-04-01

    Ecological models predict that, in the face of climate change, taxa occupying steep altitudinal gradients will shift their distributions, leading to the contraction or extinction of the high-elevation (cold-adapted) taxa. However, hybridization between ecomorphologically divergent taxa commonly occurs in nature and may lead to alternative evolutionary outcomes, such as genetic merger or gene flow at specific genes. We evaluate this hypothesis by studying patterns of divergence and gene flow across three replicate contact zones between high- and low-elevation ecomorphs of the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) that have experienced altitudinal range shifts over the current postglacial period. Strong population structure with high genetic divergence in mitochondrial DNA suggests that vicariant evolution has occurred over several glacial-interglacial cycles and that it has led to cryptic differentiation within ecomorphs. In current parapatric boundaries, we do not find evidence for local extinction and replacement upon postglacial expansion. Instead, parapatric taxa recurrently show discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear markers, suggesting nuclear-mediated gene flow across contact zones. Isolation with migration models support this hypothesis by showing significant gene flow across all five parapatric boundaries. Together, our results suggest that, while some genomic regions, such as the mitochondria, may follow morphologic species traits and retreat to isolated mountain tops, other genomic regions, such as nuclear markers, may flow across parapatric boundaries, sometimes leading to a complete genetic merger. We show that despite high ecologic and morphologic divergence over prolonged periods of time, hybridization allows for evolutionary outcomes alternative to extinction and replacement of taxa in response to climate change. PMID:26850834

  17. Pond acidification may explain differences in corticosterone among salamander populations.

    PubMed

    Chambers, David L; Wojdak, Jeremy M; Du, Pang; Belden, Lisa K

    2013-01-01

    Physiological tolerances play a key role in determining species distributions and abundance across a landscape, and understanding these tolerances can therefore be useful in predicting future changes in species distributions that might occur. Vertebrates possess several highly conserved physiological mechanisms for coping with environmental stressors, including the hormonal stress response that involves an endocrine cascade resulting in the increased production of glucocorticoids. We examined the function of this endocrine axis by assessing both baseline and acute stress-induced concentrations of corticosterone in larvae from eight natural breeding populations of Jefferson's salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum. We surveyed individuals from each pond and also examined a variety of environmental pond parameters. We found that baseline and stress-induced corticosterone concentrations differed significantly among ponds. Population-level baseline corticosterone concentrations were negatively related to pH and positively related to nitrate, and stress-induced concentrations were again negatively related to pH, positively related to nitrate, and positively related to temperature. We followed the field survey with an outdoor mesocosm experiment in which we manipulated pH and again examined baseline and acute stress-induced corticosterone in A. jeffersonianum larvae. As in the field survey, we observed an increase in the baseline corticosterone concentration of individuals exposed to the lowest pH treatment (pH 5-5.8). Examining physiological indices using a combined approach of field surveys and experiments can be a powerful tool for trying to unravel the complexities of environmental impacts on species distributions. PMID:23434782

  18. Testicular structure and germ cells morphology in salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Uribe, Mari Carmen; Mejía-Roa, Víctor

    2014-01-01

    Testes of salamanders or urodeles are paired elongated organs that are attached to the dorsal wall of the body by a mesorchium. The testes are composed of one or several lobes. Each lobe is morphologically and functionally a similar testicular unit. The lobes of the testis are joined by cords covered by a single peritoneal epithelium and subjacent connective tissue. The cords contain spermatogonia. Spermatogonia associate with Sertoli cells to form spermatocysts or cysts. The spermatogenic cells in a cyst undergo their development through spermatogenesis synchronously. The distribution of cysts displays the cephalo-caudal gradient in respect to the stage of spermatogenesis. The formation of cysts at cephalic end of the testis causes their migration along the lobules to the caudal end. Consequently, the disposition in cephalo-caudal regions of spermatogenesis can be observed in longitudinal sections of the testis. The germ cells are spermatogonia, diploid cells with mitotic activity; primary and second spermatocytes characterized by meiotic divisions that develop haploid spermatids; during spermiogenesis the spermatids differentiate to spermatozoa. During spermiation the cysts open and spermatozoa leave the testicular lobules. After spermiation occurs the development of Leydig cells into glandular tissue. This glandular tissue regressed at the end of the reproductive cycle. PMID:26413406

  19. An orphan gene is necessary for preaxial digit formation during salamander limb development

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Anoop; Gates, Phillip B.; Czarkwiani, Anna; Brockes, Jeremy P.

    2015-01-01

    Limb development in salamanders differs from other tetrapods in that the first digits to form are the two most anterior (preaxial dominance). This has been proposed as a salamander novelty and its mechanistic basis is unknown. Salamanders are the only adult tetrapods able to regenerate the limb, and the contribution of preaxial dominance to limb regeneration is unclear. Here we show that during early outgrowth of the limb bud, a small cohort of cells express the orphan gene Prod1 together with Bmp2, a critical player in digit condensation in amniotes. Disruption of Prod1 with a gene-editing nuclease abrogates these cells, and blocks formation of the radius and ulna, and outgrowth of the anterior digits. Preaxial dominance is a notable feature of limb regeneration in the larval newt, but this changes abruptly after metamorphosis so that the formation of anterior and posterior digits occurs together within the autopodium resembling an amniote-like pattern. PMID:26498026

  20. Wildlife disease. Recent introduction of a chytrid fungus endangers Western Palearctic salamanders.

    PubMed

    Martel, A; Blooi, M; Adriaensen, C; Van Rooij, P; Beukema, W; Fisher, M C; Farrer, R A; Schmidt, B R; Tobler, U; Goka, K; Lips, K R; Muletz, C; Zamudio, K R; Bosch, J; Lötters, S; Wombwell, E; Garner, T W J; Cunningham, A A; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, A; Salvidio, S; Ducatelle, R; Nishikawa, K; Nguyen, T T; Kolby, J E; Van Bocxlaer, I; Bossuyt, F; Pasmans, F

    2014-10-31

    Emerging infectious diseases are reducing biodiversity on a global scale. Recently, the emergence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans resulted in rapid declines in populations of European fire salamanders. Here, we screened more than 5000 amphibians from across four continents and combined experimental assessment of pathogenicity with phylogenetic methods to estimate the threat that this infection poses to amphibian diversity. Results show that B. salamandrivorans is restricted to, but highly pathogenic for, salamanders and newts (Urodela). The pathogen likely originated and remained in coexistence with a clade of salamander hosts for millions of years in Asia. As a result of globalization and lack of biosecurity, it has recently been introduced into naïve European amphibian populations, where it is currently causing biodiversity loss. PMID:25359973

  1. Heterogeneous Vesicles in Mucous Epithelial Cells of Posterior Esophagus of Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias Davidianus)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, H.; Zhong, S.; Ge, T.; Peng, S.; Yu, P.; Zhou, Z.; Guo, X.

    2015-01-01

    The Chinese giant salamander belongs to an old lineage of salamanders and endangered species. Many studies of breeding and disease regarding this amphibian had been implemented. However, the studies on the ultrastructure of this amphibian are rare. In this work, we provide a histological and ultra-structural investigation on posterior esophagus of Chinese giant salamander. The sections of amphibian esophagus were stained by hematoxylin & eosin (H&E). Moreover, the esophageal epithelium was observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results showed that esophageal epithelium was a single layer epithelium, which consisted of mucous cells and columnar cells. The esophageal glands were present in submucosa. The columnar cells were ciliated. According to the diverging ultrastructure of mucous vesicles, three types of mucous cells could be identified in the esophageal mucosa: i) electron-lucent vesicles mucous cell (ELV-MC); ii) electron-dense vesicles mucous cell (EDV-MC); and iii) mixed vesicles mucous cell (MV-MC). PMID:26428885

  2. Mitochondrial vasculopathy

    PubMed Central

    Finsterer, Josef; Zarrouk-Mahjoub, Sinda

    2016-01-01

    Mitochondrial disorders (MIDs) are usually multisystem disorders (mitochondrial multiorgan disorder syndrome) either on from onset or starting at a point during the disease course. Most frequently affected tissues are those with a high oxygen demand such as the central nervous system, the muscle, endocrine glands, or the myocardium. Recently, it has been shown that rarely also the arteries may be affected (mitochondrial arteriopathy). This review focuses on the type, diagnosis, and treatment of mitochondrial vasculopathy in MID patients. A literature search using appropriate search terms was carried out. Mitochondrial vasculopathy manifests as either microangiopathy or macroangiopathy. Clinical manifestations of mitochondrial microangiopathy include leukoencephalopathy, migraine-like headache, stroke-like episodes, or peripheral retinopathy. Mitochondrial macroangiopathy manifests as atherosclerosis, ectasia of arteries, aneurysm formation, dissection, or spontaneous rupture of arteries. The diagnosis relies on the documentation and confirmation of the mitochondrial metabolic defect or the genetic cause after exclusion of non-MID causes. Treatment is not at variance compared to treatment of vasculopathy due to non-MID causes. Mitochondrial vasculopathy exists and manifests as micro- or macroangiopathy. Diagnosing mitochondrial vasculopathy is crucial since appropriate treatment may prevent from severe complications. PMID:27231520

  3. Mitochondrial Cardiomyopathies

    PubMed Central

    El-Hattab, Ayman W.; Scaglia, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    Mitochondria are found in all nucleated human cells and perform various essential functions, including the generation of cellular energy. Mitochondria are under dual genome control. Only a small fraction of their proteins are encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), whereas more than 99% of them are encoded by nuclear DNA (nDNA). Mutations in mtDNA or mitochondria-related nDNA genes result in mitochondrial dysfunction leading to insufficient energy production required to meet the needs for various organs, particularly those with high energy requirements, including the central nervous system, skeletal and cardiac muscles, kidneys, liver, and endocrine system. Because cardiac muscles are one of the high energy demanding tissues, cardiac involvement occurs in mitochondrial diseases with cardiomyopathies being one of the most frequent cardiac manifestations found in these disorders. Cardiomyopathy is estimated to occur in 20–40% of children with mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondrial cardiomyopathies can vary in severity from asymptomatic status to severe manifestations including heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common type; however, mitochondrial cardiomyopathies might also present as dilated, restrictive, left ventricular non-compaction, and histiocytoid cardiomyopathies. Cardiomyopathies are frequent manifestations of mitochondrial diseases associated with defects in electron transport chain complexes subunits and their assembly factors, mitochondrial transfer RNAs, ribosomal RNAs, ribosomal proteins, translation factors, mtDNA maintenance, and coenzyme Q10 synthesis. Other mitochondrial diseases with cardiomyopathies include Barth syndrome, Sengers syndrome, TMEM70-related mitochondrial complex V deficiency, and Friedreich ataxia. PMID:27504452

  4. Mitochondrial vasculopathy.

    PubMed

    Finsterer, Josef; Zarrouk-Mahjoub, Sinda

    2016-05-26

    Mitochondrial disorders (MIDs) are usually multisystem disorders (mitochondrial multiorgan disorder syndrome) either on from onset or starting at a point during the disease course. Most frequently affected tissues are those with a high oxygen demand such as the central nervous system, the muscle, endocrine glands, or the myocardium. Recently, it has been shown that rarely also the arteries may be affected (mitochondrial arteriopathy). This review focuses on the type, diagnosis, and treatment of mitochondrial vasculopathy in MID patients. A literature search using appropriate search terms was carried out. Mitochondrial vasculopathy manifests as either microangiopathy or macroangiopathy. Clinical manifestations of mitochondrial microangiopathy include leukoencephalopathy, migraine-like headache, stroke-like episodes, or peripheral retinopathy. Mitochondrial macroangiopathy manifests as atherosclerosis, ectasia of arteries, aneurysm formation, dissection, or spontaneous rupture of arteries. The diagnosis relies on the documentation and confirmation of the mitochondrial metabolic defect or the genetic cause after exclusion of non-MID causes. Treatment is not at variance compared to treatment of vasculopathy due to non-MID causes. Mitochondrial vasculopathy exists and manifests as micro- or macroangiopathy. Diagnosing mitochondrial vasculopathy is crucial since appropriate treatment may prevent from severe complications. PMID:27231520

  5. Mitochondrial Cardiomyopathies.

    PubMed

    El-Hattab, Ayman W; Scaglia, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    Mitochondria are found in all nucleated human cells and perform various essential functions, including the generation of cellular energy. Mitochondria are under dual genome control. Only a small fraction of their proteins are encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), whereas more than 99% of them are encoded by nuclear DNA (nDNA). Mutations in mtDNA or mitochondria-related nDNA genes result in mitochondrial dysfunction leading to insufficient energy production required to meet the needs for various organs, particularly those with high energy requirements, including the central nervous system, skeletal and cardiac muscles, kidneys, liver, and endocrine system. Because cardiac muscles are one of the high energy demanding tissues, cardiac involvement occurs in mitochondrial diseases with cardiomyopathies being one of the most frequent cardiac manifestations found in these disorders. Cardiomyopathy is estimated to occur in 20-40% of children with mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondrial cardiomyopathies can vary in severity from asymptomatic status to severe manifestations including heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common type; however, mitochondrial cardiomyopathies might also present as dilated, restrictive, left ventricular non-compaction, and histiocytoid cardiomyopathies. Cardiomyopathies are frequent manifestations of mitochondrial diseases associated with defects in electron transport chain complexes subunits and their assembly factors, mitochondrial transfer RNAs, ribosomal RNAs, ribosomal proteins, translation factors, mtDNA maintenance, and coenzyme Q10 synthesis. Other mitochondrial diseases with cardiomyopathies include Barth syndrome, Sengers syndrome, TMEM70-related mitochondrial complex V deficiency, and Friedreich ataxia. PMID:27504452

  6. Different season, different strategies: Feeding ecology of two syntopic forest-dwelling salamanders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sebastiano, Salvidio; Antonio, Romano; Fabrizio, Oneto; Dario, Ottonello; Roberta, Michelon

    2012-08-01

    Trophic niche may be the most important ecological dimension for some vertebrate groups and in particular for terrestrial amphibians, that are important predators of soil invertebrates. In general, resource partitioning occurs between syntopic species with similar ecological niches, and coexistence patterns seem to be regulated by temporal resource variability. However most of the generalization on foraging strategies of terrestrial salamanders are extrapolated from studies on New World temperate species, thus we investigated the seasonal effect of resource variation in an European forest ecosystem, in which two ecologically similar but phylogenetically distinct salamander species are found. The diet of adult and juvenile cave salamanders (Speleomantes strinati), and of adult spectacled salamander (Salamandrina perspicillata) was obtained by stomach flushing, and results showed large seasonal changes both in prey availability and in salamander realised trophic niche. Values of trophic diversity were similar and niche overlaps were large among all salamander groups in spring, during high prey availability. Conversely in autumn, when a two-fold reduction in prey biomass was observed, there was a clear niche partitioning as the smaller S. perspicillata shifted from a generalist to a specialized trophic strategy. Juvenile Speleomantes strinatii, that largely overlapped in size with S. perspicillata, did not show any change in diet, suggesting that the feeding strategies were species-specific and not size-mediated. The observed patterns of variation in feeding ecology indicate that similar predators may react differently to changing prey availability to enhance niche partitioning. We also observed an increased energy intake during autumn for S perspicillata and S. strinatii juveniles, possibly related to differences in microhabitat use and activity patterns.

  7. The effect of waist twisting on walking speed of an amphibious salamander like robot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yin, Xin-Yan; Jia, Li-Chao; Wang, Chen; Xie, Guang-Ming

    2015-11-01

    Amphibious salamanders often swing their waist to coordinate quadruped walking in order to improve their crawling speed. A robot with a swing waist joint, like an amphibious salamander, is used to mimic this locomotion. A control method is designed to allow the robot to maintain the rotational speed of its legs continuous and avoid impact between its legs and the ground. An analytical expression is established between the amplitude of the waist joint and the step length. Further, an optimization amplitude is obtained corresponding to the maximum stride. The simulation results based on automatic dynamic analysis of mechanical systems (ADAMS) and physical experiments verify the rationality and validity of this expression.

  8. The effect of waist twisting on walking speed of an amphibious salamander like robot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yin, Xin-Yan; Jia, Li-Chao; Wang, Chen; Xie, Guang-Ming

    2016-06-01

    Amphibious salamanders often swing their waist to coordinate quadruped walking in order to improve their crawling speed. A robot with a swing waist joint, like an amphibious salamander, is used to mimic this locomotion. A control method is designed to allow the robot to maintain the rotational speed of its legs continuous and avoid impact between its legs and the ground. An analytical expression is established between the amplitude of the waist joint and the step length. Further, an optimization amplitude is obtained corresponding to the maximum stride. The simulation results based on automatic dynamic analysis of mechanical systems (ADAMS) and physical experiments verify the rationality and validity of this expression.

  9. Long bone histology of the stem salamander Kokartus honorarius (Amphibia: Caudata) from the Middle Jurassic of Kyrgyzstan.

    PubMed

    Skutschas, Pavel; Stein, Koen

    2015-04-01

    Kokartus honorarius from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) of Kyrgyzstan is one of the oldest salamanders in the fossil record, characterized by a mixture of plesiomorphic morphological features and characters shared with crown-group salamanders. Here we present a detailed histological analysis of its long bones. The analysis of a growth series demonstrates a significant histological maturation during ontogeny, expressed by the progressive appearance of longitudinally oriented primary vascular canals, primary osteons, growth marks, remodelling features in primary bone tissues, as well as progressive resorption of the calcified cartilage, formation of endochondral bone and development of cartilaginous to bony trabeculae in the epiphyses. Apart from the presence of secondary osteons, the long bone histology of Kokartus is very similar to that of miniaturized temnospondyls, other Jurassic stem salamanders, miniaturized seymouriamorphs and modern crown-group salamanders. We propose that the presence of secondary osteons in Kokartus honorarius is a plesiomorphic feature, and the loss of secondary osteons in the long bones of crown-group salamanders as well as in those of miniaturized temnospondyls is the result of miniaturization processes. Hitherto, all stem salamander long bong histology (Kokartus, Marmorerpeton and 'salamander A') has been generally described as having paedomorphic features (i.e. the presence of Katschenko's Line and a layer of calcified cartilage), these taxa were thus most likely neotenic forms. The absence of clear lines of arrested growth and annuli in long bones of Kokartus honorarius suggests that the animals lived in an environment with stable local conditions. PMID:25682890

  10. A tadpole-induced polyphenism in the salamander Hynobius retardatus.

    PubMed

    Michimae, Hirofumi; Wakahara, Masami

    2002-10-01

    Larvae of the salamander Hynobius retardatus have two distinct morphs: normal and broad-headed, cannibal morphs. We performed three experiments to differentiate among the following hypotheses: The broad-headed morph is induced to allow: (1) feeding on nutritious conspecifics; (2) exclusion of strong competitors for food or space; or (3) feeding on large, tough prey when smaller prey items are unavailable. When newly hatched larvae were reared with a heterospecific, Rana pirica (an anuran amphibian) tadpoles, the broad-headed morph was induced more frequently compared with those reared with conspecifics. The phenotype expressed depended on the size of the tadpoles: The broad-headed morph occurred more frequently with small and the normal morph with large tadpoles. Metamorphosis occurred sooner in larvae fed conspecifics compared with those fed heterospecific tadpoles, and the mean growth rate of larvae fed conspecifics was significantly faster than that of those fed tadpoles, suggesting that the heterospecific tadpoles were less nutritive than the conspecifics. These results do not support the hypotheses that the broad-headed morph evolved for consuming conspecifics because of their better balance of nutrients or for excluding strong competitors for food or space. We tentatively conclude that the morph evolved to eat large, tough prey, including both conspecifics and heterospecific tadpoles. Because H. retardatus usually spawns very early in the spring in small ponds partially covered with ice and snow, newly hatched larvae may starve from the lack of proper food owing to extremely low water temperatures. Thus, the broad-headed morph of H. retardatus may represent a cold-habitat adaptation to overcome the severe circumstance when the only food items available are relatively large conspecifics or heterospecific tadpoles. PMID:12449490

  11. Mitochondrial Diseases

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Young-Mock

    2012-01-01

    Mitochondria contain the respiratory chain enzyme complexes that carry out oxidative phosphorylation and produce the main part of cellular energy in the form of ATP. Although several proteins related with signalling, assembling, transporting, and enzymatic function can be impaired in mitochondrial diseases, most frequently the activity of the respiratory chain protein complexes is primarily or secondarily affected, leading to impaired oxygen utilization and reduced energy production. Mitochondrial diseases usually show a chronic, slowly progressive course and present with multiorgan involvement with varying onset between birth and late adulthood. Neuromuscular system is frequently affected in mitochondrial diseases. Although there is actually no specific therapy and cure for mitochondrial diseases, the understanding of the pathophysiology may further facilitate the diagnostic approach and open perspectives to future in mitochondrial diseases. PMID:24649452

  12. The Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in Fully Aquatic Salamanders from Southeastern North America

    PubMed Central

    Chatfield, Matthew W. H.; Moler, Paul; Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the impact that the pathogenic amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has on fully aquatic salamander species of the eastern United States. As a first step in determining the impacts of Bd on these species, we aimed to determine the prevalence of Bd in wild populations of fully aquatic salamanders in the genera Amphiuma, Necturus, Pseudobranchus, and Siren. We sampled a total of 98 salamanders, representing nine species from sites in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Overall, infection prevalence was found to be 0.34, with significant differences among genera but no clear geographic pattern. We also found evidence for seasonal variation, but additional sampling throughout the year is needed to clarify this pattern. The high rate of infection discovered in this study is consistent with studies of other amphibians from the southeastern United States. Coupled with previously published data on life histories and population densities, the results presented here suggest that fully aquatic salamanders may be serving as important vectors of Bd and the interaction between these species and Bd warrants additional research. PMID:22984569

  13. Cutaneous Bacteria of the Redback Salamander Prevent Morbidity Associated with a Lethal Disease

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Matthew H.; Harris, Reid N.

    2010-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an infectious disease that causes population declines of many amphibians. Cutaneous bacteria isolated from redback salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, and mountain yellow-legged frogs, Rana muscosa, inhibit the growth of Bd in vitro. In this study, the bacterial community present on the skin of P. cinereus individuals was investigated to determine if it provides protection to salamanders from the lethal and sub-lethal effects of chytridiomycosis. When the cutaneous bacterial community was reduced prior to Bd exposure, salamanders experienced a significantly greater decrease in body mass, which is a symptom of the disease, when compared to infected individuals with a normal bacterial community. In addition, a greater proportion of infected individuals with a reduced bacterial community experienced limb-lifting, a behavior seen only in infected individuals. Overall, these results demonstrate that the cutaneous bacterial community of P. cinereus provides protection to the salamander from Bd and that alteration of this community can change disease resistance. Therefore, symbiotic microbes associated with this species appear to be an important component of its innate skin defenses. PMID:20532032

  14. Cutaneous bacteria of the redback salamander prevent morbidity associated with a lethal disease.

    PubMed

    Becker, Matthew H; Harris, Reid N

    2010-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an infectious disease that causes population declines of many amphibians. Cutaneous bacteria isolated from redback salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, and mountain yellow-legged frogs, Rana muscosa, inhibit the growth of Bd in vitro. In this study, the bacterial community present on the skin of P. cinereus individuals was investigated to determine if it provides protection to salamanders from the lethal and sub-lethal effects of chytridiomycosis. When the cutaneous bacterial community was reduced prior to Bd exposure, salamanders experienced a significantly greater decrease in body mass, which is a symptom of the disease, when compared to infected individuals with a normal bacterial community. In addition, a greater proportion of infected individuals with a reduced bacterial community experienced limb-lifting, a behavior seen only in infected individuals. Overall, these results demonstrate that the cutaneous bacterial community of P. cinereus provides protection to the salamander from Bd and that alteration of this community can change disease resistance. Therefore, symbiotic microbes associated with this species appear to be an important component of its innate skin defenses. PMID:20532032

  15. Stream salamander species richness and abundance in relation to environmental factors in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, E.H.C.; Jung, R.E.; Rice, K.C.

    2005-01-01

    Stream salamanders are sensitive to acid mine drainage and may be sensitive to acidification and low acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of a watershed. Streams in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, are subject to episodic acidification from precipitation events. We surveyed 25 m by 2 m transects located on the stream bank adjacent to the water channel in Shenandoah National Park for salamanders using a stratified random sampling design based on elevation, aspect and bedrock geology. We investigated the relationships of four species (Eurycea bislineata, Desmognathus fuscus, D. monticola and Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) to habitat and water quality variables. We did not find overwhelming evidence that stream salamanders are affected by the acid-base status of streams in Shenandoah National Park. Desmognathus fuscus and D. monticola abundance was greater both in streams that had a higher potential to neutralize acidification, and in higher elevation (>700 m) streams. Neither abundance of E. bislineata nor species richness were related to any of the habitat variables. Our sampling method preferentially detected the adult age class of the study species and did not allow us to estimate population sizes. We suggest that continued monitoring of stream salamander populations in SNP will determine the effects of stream acidification on these taxa.

  16. Sal-Site: Integrating new and existing ambystomatid salamander research and informational resources

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Jeramiah J; Putta, Srikrishna; Walker, John A; Kump, D Kevin; Samuels, Amy K; Monaghan, James R; Weisrock, David W; Staben, Chuck; Voss, S Randal

    2005-01-01

    Salamanders of the genus Ambystoma are a unique model organism system because they enable natural history and biomedical research in the laboratory or field. We developed Sal-Site to integrate new and existing ambystomatid salamander research resources in support of this model system. Sal-Site hosts six important resources: 1) Salamander Genome Project: an information-based web-site describing progress in genome resource development, 2) Ambystoma EST Database: a database of manually edited and analyzed contigs assembled from ESTs that were collected from A. tigrinum tigrinum and A. mexicanum, 3) Ambystoma Gene Collection: a database containing full-length protein-coding sequences, 4) Ambystoma Map and Marker Collection: an image and database resource that shows the location of mapped markers on linkage groups, provides information about markers, and provides integrating links to Ambystoma EST Database and Ambystoma Gene Collection databases, 5) Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center: a website and collection of databases that describe an NSF funded salamander rearing facility that generates and distributes biological materials to researchers and educators throughout the world, and 6) Ambystoma Research Coordination Network: a web-site detailing current research projects and activities involving an international group of researchers. Sal-Site is accessible at . PMID:16359543

  17. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy studies of Chinese giant salamanders in aquaculture production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    NIR spectra were collected at three surface locations for Chinese giant salamanders to ascertain whether spectral signatures could be separated by anatomical, presumably physiologically-based, locations. The first location was the smooth area immediately above the cloaca on the animal’s abdomen, whi...

  18. Survival of spotted salamander eggs in temporary woodland ponds of coastal Maryland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Albers, P.H.; Prouty, R.M.

    1987-01-01

    Temporary ponds on the Atlantic Coastal Plain in maryland were characterized according to water chemistry, rain input, phytoplankton, zooplankton and use by the spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum during March-October 1983-1984. Neither the number of egg masses per unit of pond surface (abundance) nor the survival of spotted salamander embryos was significantly correlated (P>0.05) with pond pH. Rainfall during May-July significantly increased the hydrogen ion concentration of 5 of 11 ponds evaluated for the impact of rainfall during the previous 48h and the previous week. Survival of egg masses transferred among eight ponds with pH3.66-4.45 and one pond with pH5.18 was significantly reduced (Psalamander. At the present time, pond longevity, water temperature and possibly, oxygen content, seem more important to spotted salamander reproduction than chemical changes caused by annual acidic deposition.

  19. Using the Eastern Hellbender Salamander in a High School Genetics & Ecological Conservation Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chudyk, Sarah; McMillan, Amy; Lange, Catherine

    2014-01-01

    This article contains an original 5E lesson plan developed from conservation genetics research on the giant North American hellbender salamander, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis. The lesson plan provides background information on the hellbender, reviews basic genetics, and exposes students to the scientific process that is used during…

  20. A survey for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in endangered and highly susceptible Vietnamese salamanders (Tylototriton spp.).

    PubMed

    Thien, Tao Nguyen; Martel, An; Brutyn, Melanie; Bogaerts, Sergé; Sparreboom, Max; Haesebrouck, Freddy; Fisher, Matthew C; Beukema, Wouter; Van, Tang Duong; Chiers, Koen; Pasmans, Frank

    2013-09-01

    Until now, Asian amphibians appear to have largely escaped declines driven by chytridiomycosis. Vietnamese salamanders that belong to the genus Tylototriton are rare and have a patchy distribution in mountainous areas, falling within the proposed environmental envelope of chytrid infections, surrounded by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infected regions. If these salamanders are susceptible to chytridiomycosis, then their populations could be highly vulnerable after the introduction of B. dendrobatidis. Examination for the presence of the chytrid fungus in skin swabs from 19 Tylototriton asperrimus and 104 Tylototriton vietnamensis by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed. Susceptibility of T. asperrimus to experimental infection by using the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL) strain of B. dendrobatidis was examined. The fungus was absent in all samples from all wild salamanders examined. Inoculation with the BdGPL strain resulted in mortality of all five inoculated salamanders within 3 weeks after inoculation with infected animals that manifested severe orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis, epidermal hyperplasia, and spongiosis. Although infection by B. dendrobatidis currently appears absent in Vietnamese Tylototriton populations, the rarity of these animals, their pronounced susceptibility to chytridiomycosis, an apparently suitable environmental context and increasing likelihood of the pathogen being introduced, together suggest the need of urgent measures to avoid future scenarios of extinction as witnessed in Central America and Australia. PMID:24063090

  1. Transcriptomic analysis of the host response to an iridovirus infection in Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus.

    PubMed

    Fan, Yuding; Chang, Ming Xian; Ma, Jie; LaPatra, Scott E; Hu, Yi Wei; Huang, Lili; Nie, Pin; Zeng, Lingbing

    2015-01-01

    The emergence of an infectious viral disease caused by the Chinese giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV) has led to substantial economic losses. However, no more molecular information is available for the understanding of the mechanisms associated with virus-host interaction. In this study, de novo sequencing was used to obtain abundant high-quality ESTs and investigate differentially-expressed genes in the spleen of Chinese giant salamanders that were either infected or mock infected with GSIV. Comparative expression analysis indicated that 293 genes were down-regulated and 220 genes were up-regulated. Further enrichment analysis showed that the most enriched pathway is "complement and coagulation cascades", and significantly enriched diseases include "inherited thrombophilia", "immune system diseases", "primary immunodeficiency", "complement regulatory protein defects", and "disorders of nucleotide excision repair". Additionally, 30 678 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) from all spleen samples, 26 355 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the spleens of uninfected animals and 36 070 SNPs from the spleens of infected animals were detected. The large amount of variation was specific for the Chinese giant salamanders that were infected with GSIV. The results reported herein provided significant and new EST information that could contribute greatly in investigations into the molecular functions of immune genes in the Chinese giant salamander. PMID:26589400

  2. A stem batrachian from the Early Permian of Texas and the origin of frogs and salamanders.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Jason S; Reisz, Robert R; Scott, Diane; Fröbisch, Nadia B; Sumida, Stuart S

    2008-05-22

    The origin of extant amphibians (Lissamphibia: frogs, salamanders and caecilians) is one of the most controversial questions in vertebrate evolution, owing to large morphological and temporal gaps in the fossil record. Current discussions focus on three competing hypotheses: a monophyletic origin within either Temnospondyli or Lepospondyli, or a polyphyletic origin with frogs and salamanders arising among temnospondyls and caecilians among the lepospondyls. Recent molecular analyses are also controversial, with estimations for the batrachian (frog-salamander) divergence significantly older than the palaeontological evidence supports. Here we report the discovery of an amphibamid temnospondyl from the Early Permian of Texas that bridges the gap between other Palaeozoic amphibians and the earliest known salientians and caudatans from the Mesozoic. The presence of a mosaic of salientian and caudatan characters in this small fossil makes it a key taxon close to the batrachian (frog and salamander) divergence. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the batrachian divergence occurred in the Middle Permian, rather than the late Carboniferous as recently estimated using molecular clocks, but the divergence with caecilians corresponds to the deep split between temnospondyls and lepospondyls, which is congruent with the molecular estimates. PMID:18497824

  3. Vertebral development of modern salamanders provides insights into a unique event of their evolutionary history.

    PubMed

    Boisvert, Catherine Anne

    2009-01-15

    The origin of salamanders and their interrelationships to the two other modern amphibian orders (frogs and caecilians) are problematic owing to an 80-100 million year gap in the fossil record between the Carboniferous to the Lower Jurassic. This is compounded by a scarcity of adult skeletal characters linking the early representatives of the modern orders to their stem-group in the Paleozoic. The use of ontogenetic characters can be of great use in the resolution of these questions. Growth series of all ten modern salamander families (a 120 cleared and stained larvae) were examined for pattern and timing of vertebral elements chondrification and ossification. The primitive pattern is that of the neural arches developing before the centra, while the reverse represents the derived condition. Both the primitive and derived conditions are observed within the family Hynobiidae, whereas only the derived condition is observed in all other salamanders. This provides support to the claims that Hynobiidae is both the most basal of modern families and potentially polyphyletic (with Ranodon and Hybobius forming the most basal clade and Salamandrella being a part of the most derived clade). This provides insight into a unique event in salamander evolutionary history and suggests that the developmental pattern switch occurred between the Triassic and the mid-Jurassic before the last major radiation. PMID:19025964

  4. Mitochondrial cytopathies.

    PubMed

    El-Hattab, Ayman W; Scaglia, Fernando

    2016-09-01

    Mitochondria are found in all nucleated human cells and perform a variety of essential functions, including the generation of cellular energy. Most of mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear DNA (nDNA) whereas a very small fraction is encoded by the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mutations in mtDNA or mitochondria-related nDNA genes can result in mitochondrial dysfunction which leads to a wide range of cellular perturbations including aberrant calcium homeostasis, excessive reactive oxygen species production, dysregulated apoptosis, and insufficient energy generation to meet the needs of various organs, particularly those with high energy demand. Impaired mitochondrial function in various tissues and organs results in the multi-organ manifestations of mitochondrial diseases including epilepsy, intellectual disability, skeletal and cardiac myopathies, hepatopathies, endocrinopathies, and nephropathies. Defects in nDNA genes can be inherited in an autosomal or X-linked manners, whereas, mtDNA is maternally inherited. Mitochondrial diseases can result from mutations of nDNA genes encoding subunits of the electron transport chain complexes or their assembly factors, proteins associated with the mitochondrial import or networking, mitochondrial translation factors, or proteins involved in mtDNA maintenance. MtDNA defects can be either point mutations or rearrangements. The diagnosis of mitochondrial disorders can be challenging in many cases and is based on clinical recognition, biochemical screening, histopathological studies, functional studies, and molecular genetic testing. Currently, there are no satisfactory therapies available for mitochondrial disorders that significantly alter the course of the disease. Therapeutic options include symptomatic treatment, cofactor supplementation, and exercise. PMID:26996063

  5. Adding more ecology into species delimitation: ecological niche models and phylogeography help define cryptic species in the black salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus).

    PubMed

    Rissler, Leslie J; Apodaca, Joseph J

    2007-12-01

    Being able to efficiently and accurately delimit species is one of the most basic and important aspects of systematics because species are the fundamental unit of analysis in biogeography, ecology, and conservation. We present a rationale and approach for combining ecological niche modeling, spatially explicit analyses of environmental data, and phylogenetics in species delimitation, and we use our methodology in an empirical example focusing on Aneides flavipunctatus, the black salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae), in California. We assess the relationships between genetic, environmental, and geographic distance among populations. We use 11 climatic variables and point locality data from public databases to create ecological niche models. The suitability of potential contact zones between parapatric lineages is also assessed using the data from ecological niche modeling. Phylogenetic analyses of portions of the mitochondrial genome reveal morphologically cryptic mitochondrial lineages in this species. In addition, we find that patterns of genetic divergence are strongly associated with divergence in the ecological niche. Our work demonstrates the ease and utility of using spatial analyses of environmental data and phylogenetics in species delimitation, especially for groups displaying fine-scaled endemism and cryptic species. PMID:18066928

  6. At random meetings to the creation of new species of Salamander

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brillant, Marie-Pierre

    2013-04-01

    The pupils in final year of high school (15-18 years old) study the notion "species" and the creation of new species in various ways. Having studied genetic admixtures, this activity allows the pupils to build a scenario explaining the creation of a new species of Salamander in southern California from an ancestral population existing in northern Oregon. They can observe, on Google Earth, various populations of Salamander of the genus Ensatina. Salamanders of the genus Ensatina live in California around the Joaquin and Sacramento dry valleys. In this software, the pupils get information about the salamanders' environment and photographs of individuals and environments. During a migratory movement toward new territories to be colonized, these salamanders meet an inhospitable environment that they can not occupy. This population then splits up into two migratory branches, east and west, each overcoming the obstacles in different ways. The two groups gradually colonized southern territories but they avoided the too dry and hot San Joaquin plains. The two main branches of the original population gradually move away from each other, and genetic exchanges between them decrease over time. Eventually, we can find various populations of Salamander on both sides of the valleys, since the salamanders occupied new territories and diversified along the way. Among mutations that randomly occur, only those mutations that are best adapted in the origin were conserved in the genetic heritage of every population. When the individuals stemming from different western populations met, they were interfertile and give fertile hybrids, which was verified in the laboratory. Likewise, when individuals of the different eastern subspecies met accidentally, fertile hybrids also could arise from these crossings. The pupils can observe what happens in the overlap of various populations : interfertility or not. They also have geological, geographical and climatic information about the San Joaquin

  7. Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies.

    PubMed

    Lombes, A; Bonilla, E; Dimauro, S

    1989-01-01

    Increasingly numerous studies are being devoted to mitochondrial diseases, notably those which involve the neuromuscular system. Our knowledge and understanding of these diseases is progressing rapidly. We owe to Luft et al. (1962) the first description of this type of diseases. Their patient, a woman, presented with clinical symptoms suggestive of mitochondrial dysfunction, major histological abnormalities of skeletal muscle mitochondria and defective oxidative phosphorylation coupling clearly demonstrated in mitochondria isolated from muscle. This clinical, histological and biochemical triad led to the definition of mitochondrial myopathies. Subsequently, the triad was seldom encountered, and most mitochondrial myopathies were primarily defined by the presence of morphological abnormalities of muscle mitochondria. This review deals with the morphological, clinical, biochemical and genetic aspects of mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. The various morphological abnormalities of mitochondria are described. These are not specific of any particular disease. They may be present in some non-mitochondrial diseases and may be lacking in diseases due to specific defects of mitochondrial enzymes (e.g. carnitine palmityl-transferase or pyruvate dehydrogenase). The clinical classification of mitochondrial encephalomyopathies is discussed. There are two main schools of thought: the "lumpers" do not recognize specific syndromes within the spectrum of mitochondrial "cytopathies", the "splitters" try to identify specific syndromes while recognizing the existence of borderline cases. The following syndromes are described: chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO), Kearns-Sayre syndrome (KSS), MERRF syndrome (myoclonic epilepsy with ragged-red fibers), MELAS syndrome (mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, stroke-like episodes) and Leigh and Alpers syndromes. The biochemical classification comprises five types of abnormalities: defects of transport

  8. Mercury Speciation and Trophic Magnification Slopes in Giant Salamander Larvae from the Pacific Northwest, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bank, M. S.; Crocker, J.; Wachtl, J.; Kleeman, P.; Fellers, G.; Currens, C.; Hothem, R.; Madej, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination of stream salamanders in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States has received little attention. Here we report total Hg (HgT) and methyl mercury (MeHg) concentrations in larval giant salamanders (Dicamptodon spp.) and surface water from forested and chaparral lotic ecosystems distributed along a latitudinal gradient throughout Northern California and Washington. To test hypotheses related to potential effects from mining land-use activities, salamander larvae were also sampled from a reference site at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, California, and at a nearby, upstream site (Shasta county) on Bureau of Land Management land where Hg contamination from gold mining activities has been documented. HgT concentrations in whole body larvae ranged from 4.6 to 74.5 ng/g wet wt. and percent MeHg ranged from 67% to 86%. Both HgT and MeHg larval tissue concentrations were significantly higher at the mining site in comparison to measured background levels (P < 0.001). We conclude that salamander larvae in remote stream ecosystems, where Hg sources were dominated by atmospheric deposition, were generally low in HgT and MeHg and, in comparison, watersheds with a legacy of land-use practices (i.e., mining operations) had approximately 4.5 - 5.5 times the level of HgT bioaccumulation. Moreover, trophic magnification slopes were highest in the Shasta county region where mining was present. These findings suggest that mining activities increase HgT and MeHg exposure to salamander larvae in the region and may present a threat to other higher trophically positioned organisms, and their associated food webs.

  9. Three ferritin subunit analogs in Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) and their response to microbial stimulation.

    PubMed

    You, Xiuling; Sheng, Jianghong; Liu, Liu; Nie, Dongsong; Liao, Zhiyong

    2015-10-01

    Ferritin, an evolutionarily conserved iron-binding protein, plays important roles in iron storage and detoxification and in host immune response to invading stimulus as well. In the present study, we identified three ferritin subunit analog cDNAs from Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus). All the three ferritin subunit cDNAs had a putative iron responsive element in the 5'-untranslated region. Two deduced ferritin subunits (designated as cgsFerH and cgsFerM) had the highest identity of 90% to H type subunit of vertebrate ferritins, while another deduced ferritin subunit (designated as cgsFerL) had the highest identity of 84% to L type subunit of vertebrate ferritins. The Chinese giant salamander ferritin (cgsFer) was widely expressed in various tissues, with highest expression for cgsFerH and cgsFerL in liver and highest expression for cgsFerM in spleen. Infection of Chinese giant salamander with A. davidianus ranavirus showed significant induction of cgsFer expression. Both lipopolysaccharide and iron challenge drastically augmented cgsFer expression in the splenocytes and hepatocytes from Chinese giant salamander. In addition, recombinant cgsFers bound to ferrous iron in a dose-dependent manner, with significant ferroxidase activity. Furthermore, the recombinant cgsFer inhibited the growth of the pathogen Vibrio anguillarum. These results indicated that cgsFer was potential candidate of immune molecules involved in acute phase response to invading microbial pathogens in Chinese giant salamander possibly through its regulatory roles in iron homeostasis. PMID:26319314

  10. The hyal and ventral branchial muscles in caecilian and salamander larvae: homologies and evolution.

    PubMed

    Kleinteich, Thomas; Haas, Alexander

    2011-05-01

    Amphibians (Lissamphibia) are characterized by a bi-phasic life-cycle that comprises an aquatic larval stage and metamorphosis to the adult. The ancestral aquatic feeding behavior of amphibian larvae is suction feeding. The negative pressure that is needed for ingestion of prey is created by depression of the hyobranchial apparatus as a result of hyobranchial muscle action. Understanding the homologies of hyobranchial muscles in amphibian larvae is a crucial step in understanding the evolution of this important character complex. However, the literature mostly focuses on the adult musculature and terms used for hyal and ventral branchial muscles in different amphibians often do not reflect homologies across lissamphibian orders. Here we describe the hyal and ventral branchial musculature in larvae of caecilians (Gymnophiona) and salamanders (Caudata), including juveniles of two permanently aquatic salamander species. Based on previous alternative terminology schemes, we propose a terminology for the hyal and ventral branchial muscles that reflects the homologies of muscles and that is suited for studies on hyobranchial muscle evolution in amphibians. We present a discussion of the hyal and ventral branchial muscles in larvae of the most recent common ancestor of amphibians (i.e. the ground plan of Lissamphibia). Based on our terminology, the hyal and ventral branchial musculature of caecilians and salamanders comprises the following muscles: m. depressor mandibulae, m. depressor mandibulae posterior, m. hyomandibularis, m. branchiohyoideus externus, m. interhyoideus, m. interhyoideus posterior, m. subarcualis rectus I, m. subarcualis obliquus II, m. subarcualis obliquus III, m. subarcualis rectus II-IV, and m. transversus ventralis IV. Except for the m. branchiohyoideus externus, all muscles considered herein can be assigned to the ground plan of the Lissamphibia with certainty. The m. branchiohyoideus externus is either apomorphic for the Batrachia (frogs

  11. Impacts of a gape limited Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, on larval Northwestern salamander, Ambystoma gracile, growth: A field enclosure experiment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Currens, C.R.; Liss, W.J.; Hoffman, R.L.

    2007-01-01

    The formation of amphibian population structure is directly affected by predation. Although aquatic predators have been shown to have direct negative effects on larval salamanders in laboratory and field experiments, the potential impacts of gape-limited fish on larval salamander growth has been largely underexplored. We designed an enclosure experiment conducted in situ to quantify the effects of gape-limited Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) on larval Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) growth. We specifically tested whether the presence of fish too small to consume larvae had a negative effect on larval growth. The results of this study indicate that the presence of a gape-limited S. fontinalis can have a negative effect on growth of larval A. gracile salamanders. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

  12. Life history as a predictor of salamander recovery rate from timber harvest in southern appalachian forests, USA.

    PubMed

    Connette, Grant M; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2013-12-01

    Forest management often represents a balance between social, economic, and ecological objectives. In the eastern United States, numerous studies have established that terrestrial salamander populations initially decline in abundance following timber harvest, yet the large-scale and long-term consequences are relatively unknown. We used count data from terrestrial survey points to examine the relation between salamander abundance and historic timber harvest while accounting for imperfect detection of individuals. Overall, stream- and terrestrial-breeding salamanders appeared to differ by magnitude of population decline, rate of population recovery, and extent of recolonization from surrounding forest. Specifically, estimated abundance of both species groups was positively associated with stand age and recovery rates were predicted to increase over time for red-legged salamanders (Plethodon shermani) and decrease in stream-breeding species. Abundance of stream-breeding salamanders was predicted to reach a peak by 100 years after timber harvest, and the population growth rate of red-legged salamanders was predicted to undergo a significant increase 100 years after harvest. Estimated abundance of stream-breeding salamanders in young forest stands was also negatively associated with the distance to adjacent forest, a result that suggests immigration has a role in the recovery of these species. Our results indicate that salamander abundance in young forest stands may be only modestly lower than in more mature forest but that full recovery from timber harvest may take a substantial amount of time and that species life history may affect patterns of recovery. Historia de Vida como un Vaticinador de la Tasa de Recuperación de una Salamandra a la Colecta de Madera en los Bosques del Sur de los Apalaches, E.U.A. PMID:24033390

  13. Multilocus Phylogeography and Species Delimitation in the Cumberland Plateau Salamander, Plethodon kentucki: Incongruence among Data Sets and Methods

    PubMed Central

    Kuchta, Shawn R.; Brown, Ashley D.; Converse, Paul E.; Highton, Richard

    2016-01-01

    Species are a fundamental unit of biodiversity, yet can be challenging to delimit objectively. This is particularly true of species complexes characterized by high levels of population genetic structure, hybridization between genetic groups, isolation by distance, and limited phenotypic variation. Previous work on the Cumberland Plateau Salamander, Plethodon kentucki, suggested that it might constitute a species complex despite occupying a relatively small geographic range. To examine this hypothesis, we sampled 135 individuals from 43 populations, and used four mitochondrial loci and five nuclear loci (5693 base pairs) to quantify phylogeographic structure and probe for cryptic species diversity. Rates of evolution for each locus were inferred using the multidistribute package, and time calibrated gene trees and species trees were inferred using BEAST 2 and *BEAST 2, respectively. Because the parameter space relevant for species delimitation is large and complex, and all methods make simplifying assumptions that may lead them to fail, we conducted an array of analyses. Our assumption was that strongly supported species would be congruent across methods. Putative species were first delimited using a Bayesian implementation of the GMYC model (bGMYC), Geneland, and Brownie. We then validated these species using the genealogical sorting index and BPP. We found substantial phylogeographic diversity using mtDNA, including four divergent clades and an inferred common ancestor at 14.9 myr (95% HPD: 10.8–19.7 myr). By contrast, this diversity was not corroborated by nuclear sequence data, which exhibited low levels of variation and weak phylogeographic structure. Species trees estimated a far younger root than did the mtDNA data, closer to 1.0 myr old. Mutually exclusive putative species were identified by the different approaches. Possible causes of data set discordance, and the problem of species delimitation in complexes with high levels of population structure and

  14. Multilocus Phylogeography and Species Delimitation in the Cumberland Plateau Salamander, Plethodon kentucki: Incongruence among Data Sets and Methods.

    PubMed

    Kuchta, Shawn R; Brown, Ashley D; Converse, Paul E; Highton, Richard

    2016-01-01

    Species are a fundamental unit of biodiversity, yet can be challenging to delimit objectively. This is particularly true of species complexes characterized by high levels of population genetic structure, hybridization between genetic groups, isolation by distance, and limited phenotypic variation. Previous work on the Cumberland Plateau Salamander, Plethodon kentucki, suggested that it might constitute a species complex despite occupying a relatively small geographic range. To examine this hypothesis, we sampled 135 individuals from 43 populations, and used four mitochondrial loci and five nuclear loci (5693 base pairs) to quantify phylogeographic structure and probe for cryptic species diversity. Rates of evolution for each locus were inferred using the multidistribute package, and time calibrated gene trees and species trees were inferred using BEAST 2 and *BEAST 2, respectively. Because the parameter space relevant for species delimitation is large and complex, and all methods make simplifying assumptions that may lead them to fail, we conducted an array of analyses. Our assumption was that strongly supported species would be congruent across methods. Putative species were first delimited using a Bayesian implementation of the GMYC model (bGMYC), Geneland, and Brownie. We then validated these species using the genealogical sorting index and BPP. We found substantial phylogeographic diversity using mtDNA, including four divergent clades and an inferred common ancestor at 14.9 myr (95% HPD: 10.8-19.7 myr). By contrast, this diversity was not corroborated by nuclear sequence data, which exhibited low levels of variation and weak phylogeographic structure. Species trees estimated a far younger root than did the mtDNA data, closer to 1.0 myr old. Mutually exclusive putative species were identified by the different approaches. Possible causes of data set discordance, and the problem of species delimitation in complexes with high levels of population structure and

  15. Mitochondrial Myopathies

    MedlinePlus

    ... line and are therefore called the electron transport chain, and complex V actually churns out ATP, so ... coQ10 , is a component of the electron transport chain, which uses oxygen to manufacture ATP. Some mitochondrial ...

  16. Mitochondrial Diseases

    MedlinePlus

    ... in your body tissues. If you have a metabolic disorder, something goes wrong with this process. Mitochondrial diseases are a group of metabolic disorders. Mitochondria are small structures that produce energy in ...

  17. Mitochondrial DNA.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wright, Russell G.; Bottino, Paul J.

    1986-01-01

    Provides background information for teachers on mitochondrial DNA, pointing out that it may have once been a free-living organism. Includes a ready-to-duplicate exercise titled "Using Microchondrial DNA to Measure Evolutionary Distance." (JN)

  18. Mitochondrial Myopathy

    MedlinePlus

    ... with ragged-red fibers, and mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes. The symptoms of ... riboflavin, coenzyme Q, and carnitine (a specialized amino acid) may provide subjective improvement in fatigue and energy ...

  19. Mitochondrial genetics

    PubMed Central

    Chinnery, Patrick Francis; Hudson, Gavin

    2013-01-01

    Introduction In the last 10 years the field of mitochondrial genetics has widened, shifting the focus from rare sporadic, metabolic disease to the effects of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in a growing spectrum of human disease. The aim of this review is to guide the reader through some key concepts regarding mitochondria before introducing both classic and emerging mitochondrial disorders. Sources of data In this article, a review of the current mitochondrial genetics literature was conducted using PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/). In addition, this review makes use of a growing number of publically available databases including MITOMAP, a human mitochondrial genome database (www.mitomap.org), the Human DNA polymerase Gamma Mutation Database (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/polg/) and PhyloTree.org (www.phylotree.org), a repository of global mtDNA variation. Areas of agreement The disruption in cellular energy, resulting from defects in mtDNA or defects in the nuclear-encoded genes responsible for mitochondrial maintenance, manifests in a growing number of human diseases. Areas of controversy The exact mechanisms which govern the inheritance of mtDNA are hotly debated. Growing points Although still in the early stages, the development of in vitro genetic manipulation could see an end to the inheritance of the most severe mtDNA disease. PMID:23704099

  20. Abundances of northwestern salamander larvae in montane lakes with and without fish, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Gary L.; Hoffman, Robert L.

    2002-01-01

    In Mount Rainier National Park, the northwestern salamander usually inhabits relatively large and deep lakes and ponds (average size = 0.3 ha; average depth > 2 m) that contain flocculent, organic bottom sediments and abundant coarse wood. Prior to 1970, salmonids were introduced into many of the park's lakes and ponds that were typical habitat of the northwestern salamander. The objective of this study was to compare, in lakes and ponds with suitable habitat characteristics for northwestern salamanders, the observed abundances of larvae in takes and ponds with and without these introduced salmonids. Day surveys of 61 lakes were conducted between 1993 and 1999. Fish were limited to takes and ponds deeper than 2 in. For the 48 lakes and ponds deeper than 2 in (i.e., 25 fishless lakes and 23 fish lakes), the mean and median observed abundances of northwestern salamander larvae in fishless lakes and ponds was significantly greater than the mean and median observed abundances of larvae in lakes and ponds with fish. Northwestern salamander larvae were not observed in 11 fish lakes. These lakes were similar in median elevation, surface area, and maximum depth to the fishless lakes. The 12 fish lakes with observed larvae were significantly lower in median elevation, larger in median surface area, and deeper in median maximum depth than the fishless lakes. Low to null observed abundances of northwestern salamander larvae in lakes and ponds with fish were attributed to a combination of fish predation of larvae and changes in larval behavior.

  1. First report of a ranavirus associated with morbidity and mortality in farmed Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus).

    PubMed

    Geng, Y; Wang, K Y; Zhou, Z Y; Li, C W; Wang, J; He, M; Yin, Z Q; Lai, W M

    2011-07-01

    From February to May 2010, an outbreak of disease occurred amongst farmed Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) in Hanzhong County, Shanxi Province, China. Clinical signs included anorexia, lethargy, ecchymoses and swollen areas on the head and limbs, and skin ulceration. The aim of this study was to determine the cause of this disease. Necropsy examination revealed subcutaneous and intramuscular oedema, swollen and pale livers with multifocal haemorrhage, swollen kidneys with multifocal haemorrhage and distended fluid-filled intestines with areas of haemorrhage. Light microscopy revealed intracytoplasmic inclusions suggestive of a viral infection in a variety of organs, as well as degeneration and necrosis of these organs. Electron microscopy of ultrathin sections of the same tissues revealed iridovirus-like particles within the inclusions. Of the six specimens tested, all were positive for ranavirus major capsid protein (MCP) gene. Sequence alignments of the ranavirus MCP gene from these specimens showed 95-98% similarity with published ranavirus data. The virus, provisionally designated as Chinese giant salamander virus (CGSV), was isolated from tissue homogenates of diseased salamanders following inoculation of epithelioma papilloma cyprini cells. Sequence analysis of the MCP genes showed that the isolated virus was a ranavirus with marked sequence identity to other members of the genus Ranavirus. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by infecting healthy Chinese giant salamanders with the CGSV. These salamanders all died within 6-8 days. This is the first report of ranavirus infection associated with mass mortality in Chinese giant salamanders. PMID:21256507

  2. Distribution of the Sonora Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi) in Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hossack, Blake R.; Muths, Erin L.; Rorabaugh, James C.; Lemos Espinal, Julio A.; Sigafus, Brent H.; Chambert, Thierry A; Carreon Arroyo, Gerardo; Hurtado Felix, David; Toyos Martinez, Daniel; Jones, Thomas R

    2016-01-01

    The Sonoran Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi Lowe, 1954) was listed as federally endangered in the USA in 1997 (USFWS 1997). In the USA, the distribution of A. mavortium stebbinsi is limited to the San Rafael Valley (approximately 567 km2), between the Sierra San Antonio (called the Patagonia Mountains in Arizona) and Huachuca Mountains, and south of the Canelo Hills, Arizona (Fig. 1). The USA listing was triggered by loss of natural wetland habitats, threats from invasive predators, frequent die-offs from disease, introgression with the introduced Barred Tiger Salamander (A. mavortium mavortium), and small range and number of breeding sites that increases susceptibility to stochastic events (USFWS 1997). Small population sizes and limited gene flow have caused inbreeding, which may further reduce population viability and the potential for recovery (Jones et al. 1988; Storfer et al. 2014). 

  3. Effects of Histamine on Light Responses of Amacrine Cells in Tiger Salamander Retina

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Yongchun; Satoh, Hiromasa; Vila, Alejandro; Wu, Samuel M.; Marshak, David W.

    2011-01-01

    Using immunofluorescence, we showed that histamine receptor 1 is expressed by horizontal cell axons and a subset of amacrine cells in the tiger salamander retina. The effects of histamine on light responses of amacrine cells were studied in slice preparations. Histamine modulated the light responses of many salamander amacrine cells, depending upon the morphological type. The most pronounced effects of histamine were decreases in the light responses of broadly stratified amacrine cells, particularly those having medium-sized dendritic field diameters. To determine whether the effects of histamine were direct, Co++ was substituted for Ca++ in the extracellular medium to block synaptic transmission. Histamine still affected broadly stratified amacrine cells, but not narrowly stratified amacrine cells under these conditions. Taken together, these findings suggest that inhibitory interactions between strata of the IPL and within the classical receptive fields of the ganglion cells would be particularly sensitive to histamine released from retinopetal axons. PMID:20878231

  4. Embryo Development inside Female Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum-laterale) Prior to Egg Laying

    PubMed Central

    Charney, Noah D.; Castorino, John J.; Dobro, Megan J.; Steely, Sarah L.

    2014-01-01

    The length of embryo retention prior to oviposition is a critical evolutionary trait. In all oviparous salamanders, which include the vast majority of species in the order, fertilization is thought to occur at the time of egg laying. Embryos then enter the first cleavage stage several hours after being deposited. This pattern holds for previously studied individuals in the Ambystoma jeffersonianum-laterale complex. Here, we document an instance in which a female Ambystoma jeffersonianum-laterale was carrying embryos internally that had already reached stage 10 of development. Development likely began several days prior to the start of migration to the breeding pond. This is the first such record for any egg-laying salamander, and suggests a degree of plasticity in the timing of fertilization and development not previously recognized. Further work is needed to ascertain the prevalence, mechanics, and evolutionary significance of this phenomenon. PMID:24651275

  5. Microbial community dynamics and effect of environmental microbial reservoirs on red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)

    PubMed Central

    Loudon, Andrew H; Woodhams, Douglas C; Parfrey, Laura Wegener; Archer, Holly; Knight, Rob; McKenzie, Valerie; Harris, Reid N

    2014-01-01

    Beneficial cutaneous bacteria on amphibians can protect against the lethal disease chytridiomycosis, which has devastated many amphibian species and is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. We describe the diversity of bacteria on red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) in the wild and the stability of these communities through time in captivity using culture-independent Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing. After field sampling, salamanders were housed with soil from the field or sterile media. The captive conditions led to different trajectories of bacterial communities. Eight OTUs present on >90% of salamanders in the field, through time, and in both treatments were defined as the core community, suggesting that some bacteria are closely associated with the host and are independent of an environmental reservoir. One of these taxa, a Pseudomonas sp., was previously cultured from amphibians and found to be antifungal. As all host-associated bacteria were found in the soil reservoir, environmental microbes strongly influence host–microbial diversity and likely regulate the core community. Using PICRUSt, an exploratory bioinformatics tool to predict gene functions, we found that core skin bacteria provided similar gene functions to the entire community. We suggest that future experiments focus on testing whether core bacteria on salamander skin contribute to the observed resistance to chytridiomycosis in this species even under hygenic captive conditions. For disease-susceptible hosts, providing an environmental reservoir with defensive bacteria in captive-rearing programs may improve outcomes by increasing bacterial diversity on threatened amphibians or increasing the likelihood that defensive bacteria are available for colonization. PMID:24335825

  6. SURGICAL IMPLANTATION OF COELOMIC RADIOTRANSMITTERS AND POSTOPERATIVE SURVIVAL OF CHINESE GIANT SALAMANDERS (ANDRIAS DAVIDIANUS) FOLLOWING REINTRODUCTION.

    PubMed

    Marcec, Ruth; Kouba, Andrew; Zhang, Lu; Zhang, Hongxing; Wang, Qijun; Zhao, Hu; Jiang, Wei; Willard, Scott

    2016-03-01

    Worldwide, there are only a handful of reintroduction programs for threatened salamander species, and very few have conducted postrelease studies to examine survival, habitat selection, and dispersal. Limitations in postrelease monitoring are primarily due to size constraints of amphibians and to dimensions of the radiotransmitters available for implantation. However, due to the large size of the critically endangered Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus), these animals make optimal candidates for surgical implantation of radiotransmitters prior to reintroduction or translocation. The objective of this study was to develop an anesthetic protocol using tricane methanesulfonate (MS-222) and test a surgical procedure for coelomic implantation of radiotransmitters for this species. A total of 32 Chinese giant salamanders from two age groups (Group A: 4.7 yr old, n = 16; Group B: 2.7 yr old, n = 16) were implanted with 4-g radiotransmitters designed for underwater monitoring of fish. Group A was held 16 wk before release while Group B was held 6 wk before release, and the salamanders' survival and postoperative complications recorded for the first month postrelease. Group A animals took longer to reach a surgical plane of anesthesia than did Group B animals, and this was directly correlated to mass of the animals. Postsurgery, one animal from Group B died of dehiscence before release while 83.9% animals survived after the first month in the wild. All of the animals that died postrelease were from Group B; three animals experienced dehiscence of the suture site and died while another two animals expired from trauma and fungal infection, respectively. Improvements for future studies include use of alternative suture material for closure after implantation and additional healing time of the incision. PMID:27010279

  7. Mitochondrial Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gray, Michael W.

    2012-01-01

    Viewed through the lens of the genome it contains, the mitochondrion is of unquestioned bacterial ancestry, originating from within the bacterial phylum α-Proteobacteria (Alphaproteobacteria). Accordingly, the endosymbiont hypothesis—the idea that the mitochondrion evolved from a bacterial progenitor via symbiosis within an essentially eukaryotic host cell—has assumed the status of a theory. Yet mitochondrial genome evolution has taken radically different pathways in diverse eukaryotic lineages, and the organelle itself is increasingly viewed as a genetic and functional mosaic, with the bulk of the mitochondrial proteome having an evolutionary origin outside Alphaproteobacteria. New data continue to reshape our views regarding mitochondrial evolution, particularly raising the question of whether the mitochondrion originated after the eukaryotic cell arose, as assumed in the classical endosymbiont hypothesis, or whether this organelle had its beginning at the same time as the cell containing it. PMID:22952398

  8. Data set for transcriptome analysis of the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus )

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Xuemei; Wang, Yuan; Zhang, Xiaoying

    2015-01-01

    The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) occupies a seat at the phylogenetic and species evolution process, which makes it an invaluable model for genetics; however, the genetic information and gene sequences about the Chinese giant salamander in public databases are scanty. Hence, we aimed to perform transcriptome analysis with the help of high-throughput sequencing. In this data, 61,317,940 raw reads were acquired from Chinese giant salamander mRNA using Illumina paired-end sequencing platform. After de novo assembly, a total of 72,072 unigenes were gained, in which 33,834 (46.95%) and 29,479 (40.91%) transcripts exhibited homology to sequences in the Nr database and Swiss-Prot database, (E-value <10−5), respectively. In the obtained unigenes, 18,019 (25%) transcripts were assigned with at least one Gene Ontology term, of which 1218 (6.8%) transcripts were assigned to immune system processes. In addition, a total of 17,572 assembled sequences were assigned into 241 predicted KEGG metabolic pathways. Among these, 2552 (14.5%) transcripts were assigned to the immune system relevant pathway and 5 transcripts were identified as potential antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). PMID:26759822

  9. Amphibian chemical defense: antifungal metabolites of the microsymbiont Janthinobacterium lividum on the salamander Plethodon cinereus.

    PubMed

    Brucker, Robert M; Harris, Reid N; Schwantes, Christian R; Gallaher, Thomas N; Flaherty, Devon C; Lam, Brianna A; Minbiole, Kevin P C

    2008-11-01

    Disease has spurred declines in global amphibian populations. In particular, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has decimated amphibian diversity in some areas unaffected by habitat loss. However, there is little evidence to explain how some amphibian species persist despite infection or even clear the pathogen beyond detection. One hypothesis is that certain bacterial symbionts on the skin of amphibians inhibit the growth of the pathogen. An antifungal strain of Janthinobacterium lividum, isolated from the skin of the red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus, produces antifungal metabolites at concentrations lethal to B. dendrobatidis. Antifungal metabolites were identified by using reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography, high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and UV-Vis spectroscopy and tested for efficacy of inhibiting the pathogen. Two metabolites, indole-3-carboxaldehyde and violacein, inhibited the pathogen's growth at relatively low concentrations (68.9 and 1.82 microM, respectively). Analysis of fresh salamander skin confirmed the presence of J. lividum and its metabolites on the skin of host salamanders in concentrations high enough to hinder or kill the pathogen (51 and 207 microM, respectively). These results support the hypothesis that cutaneous, mutualistic bacteria play a role in amphibian resistance to fungal disease. Exploitation of this biological process may provide long-term resistance to B. dendrobatidis for vulnerable amphibians and serve as a model for managing future emerging diseases in wildlife populations. PMID:18949519

  10. Data set for transcriptome analysis of the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus ).

    PubMed

    Jiang, Xuemei; Wang, Yuan; Zhang, Xiaoying

    2016-03-01

    The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) occupies a seat at the phylogenetic and species evolution process, which makes it an invaluable model for genetics; however, the genetic information and gene sequences about the Chinese giant salamander in public databases are scanty. Hence, we aimed to perform transcriptome analysis with the help of high-throughput sequencing. In this data, 61,317,940 raw reads were acquired from Chinese giant salamander mRNA using Illumina paired-end sequencing platform. After de novo assembly, a total of 72,072 unigenes were gained, in which 33,834 (46.95%) and 29,479 (40.91%) transcripts exhibited homology to sequences in the Nr database and Swiss-Prot database, (E-value <10(-5)), respectively. In the obtained unigenes, 18,019 (25%) transcripts were assigned with at least one Gene Ontology term, of which 1218 (6.8%) transcripts were assigned to immune system processes. In addition, a total of 17,572 assembled sequences were assigned into 241 predicted KEGG metabolic pathways. Among these, 2552 (14.5%) transcripts were assigned to the immune system relevant pathway and 5 transcripts were identified as potential antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). PMID:26759822

  11. Biogeography and body size shuffling of aquatic salamander communities on a shifting refuge

    PubMed Central

    Bonett, Ronald M.; Trujano-Alvarez, Ana Lilia; Williams, Michael J.; Timpe, Elizabeth K.

    2013-01-01

    Freshwater habitats of coastal plains are refugia for many divergent vertebrate lineages, yet these environments are highly vulnerable to sea-level fluctuations, which suggest that resident communities have endured dynamic histories. Using the fossil record and a multi-locus nuclear phylogeny, we examine divergence times, biogeography, body size evolution and patterns of community assembly of aquatic salamanders from North American coastal plains since the Late Cretaceous. At least five salamander families occurred on the extensive Western Interior Coastal Plain (WICP), which existed from the Late Cretaceous through the Eocene. Four of these families subsequently colonized the emergent Southeastern Coastal Plain (SECP) by the Early Oligocene to Late Miocene. Three families ultimately survived and underwent extensive body size evolution in situ on the SECP. This included at least two major size reversals in recent taxa that are convergent with confamilial WICP ancestors. Dynamics of the coastal plain, major lineage extinctions and frequent extreme changes in body size have resulted in significant shuffling of the size structure of aquatic salamander communities on this shifting refuge since the Cretaceous. PMID:23466988

  12. Seasonal variation in microhabitat of salamanders: environmental variation or shift of habitat selection?

    PubMed

    Lunghi, Enrico; Manenti, Raoul; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

    2015-01-01

    Relationships between species and their habitats are not always constant. Different processes may determine changes in species-habitat association: individuals may prefer different habitat typologies in different periods, or they may be forced to occupy a different habitat in order to follow the changing environment. The aim of our study was to assess whether cave salamanders change their habitat association pattern through the year, and to test whether such changes are determined by environmental changes or by changes in preferences. We monitored multiple caves in Central Italy through one year, and monthly measured biotic and abiotic features of microhabitat and recorded Italian cave salamanders distribution. We used mixed models and niche similarity tests to assess whether species-habitat relationships remain constant through the year. Microhabitat showed strong seasonal variation, with the highest variability in the superficial sectors. Salamanders were associated to relatively cold and humid sectors in summer, but not during winter. Such apparent shift in habitat preferences mostly occurred because the environmental gradient changed through the year, while individuals generally selected similar conditions. Nevertheless, juveniles were more tolerant to dry sectors during late winter, when food demand was highest. This suggests that tolerance for suboptimal abiotic conditions may change through time, depending on the required resources. Differences in habitat use are jointly determined by environmental variation through time, and by changes in the preferred habitat. The trade-offs between tolerance and resources requirement are major determinant of such variation. PMID:26290788

  13. Vertebrate Hosts as Islands: Dynamics of Selection, Immigration, Loss, Persistence, and Potential Function of Bacteria on Salamander Skin.

    PubMed

    Loudon, Andrew H; Venkataraman, Arvind; Van Treuren, William; Woodhams, Douglas C; Parfrey, Laura Wegener; McKenzie, Valerie J; Knight, Rob; Schmidt, Thomas M; Harris, Reid N

    2016-01-01

    Skin bacterial communities can protect amphibians from a fungal pathogen; however, little is known about how these communities are maintained. We used a neutral model of community ecology to identify bacteria that are maintained on salamanders by selection or by dispersal from a bacterial reservoir (soil) and ecological drift. We found that 75% (9/12) of bacteria that were consistent with positive selection, <1% of bacteria that were consistent with random dispersal and none of the bacteria that were consistent under negative selection had a 97% or greater match to antifungal isolates. Additionally we performed an experiment where salamanders were either provided or denied a bacterial reservoir and estimated immigration and loss (emigration and local extinction) rates of bacteria on salamanders in both treatments. Loss was strongly related to bacterial richness, suggesting competition is important for structuring the community. Bacteria closely related to antifungal isolates were more likely to persist on salamanders with or without a bacterial reservoir, suggesting they had a competitive advantage. Furthermore, over-represented and under-represented operational taxonomic units (OTUs) had similar persistence on salamanders when a bacterial reservoir was present. However, under-represented OTUs were less likely to persist in the absence of a bacterial reservoir, suggesting that the over-represented and under-represented bacteria were selected against or for on salamanders through time. Our findings from the neutral model, migration and persistence analyses show that bacteria that exhibit a high similarity to antifungal isolates persist on salamanders, which likely protect hosts against pathogens and improve fitness. This research is one of the first to apply ecological theory to investigate assembly of host associated-bacterial communities, which can provide insights for probiotic bioaugmentation as a conservation strategy against disease. PMID:27014249

  14. Vertebrate Hosts as Islands: Dynamics of Selection, Immigration, Loss, Persistence, and Potential Function of Bacteria on Salamander Skin

    PubMed Central

    Loudon, Andrew H.; Venkataraman, Arvind; Van Treuren, William; Woodhams, Douglas C.; Parfrey, Laura Wegener; McKenzie, Valerie J.; Knight, Rob; Schmidt, Thomas M.; Harris, Reid N.

    2016-01-01

    Skin bacterial communities can protect amphibians from a fungal pathogen; however, little is known about how these communities are maintained. We used a neutral model of community ecology to identify bacteria that are maintained on salamanders by selection or by dispersal from a bacterial reservoir (soil) and ecological drift. We found that 75% (9/12) of bacteria that were consistent with positive selection, <1% of bacteria that were consistent with random dispersal and none of the bacteria that were consistent under negative selection had a 97% or greater match to antifungal isolates. Additionally we performed an experiment where salamanders were either provided or denied a bacterial reservoir and estimated immigration and loss (emigration and local extinction) rates of bacteria on salamanders in both treatments. Loss was strongly related to bacterial richness, suggesting competition is important for structuring the community. Bacteria closely related to antifungal isolates were more likely to persist on salamanders with or without a bacterial reservoir, suggesting they had a competitive advantage. Furthermore, over-represented and under-represented operational taxonomic units (OTUs) had similar persistence on salamanders when a bacterial reservoir was present. However, under-represented OTUs were less likely to persist in the absence of a bacterial reservoir, suggesting that the over-represented and under-represented bacteria were selected against or for on salamanders through time. Our findings from the neutral model, migration and persistence analyses show that bacteria that exhibit a high similarity to antifungal isolates persist on salamanders, which likely protect hosts against pathogens and improve fitness. This research is one of the first to apply ecological theory to investigate assembly of host associated-bacterial communities, which can provide insights for probiotic bioaugmentation as a conservation strategy against disease. PMID:27014249

  15. Multimodal communication, mismatched messages and the effects of turbidity on the antipredator behavior of the Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum.

    PubMed

    Zabierek, Kristina C; Gabor, Caitlin R

    2016-09-01

    Prey may use multiple sensory channels to detect predators, whose cues may differ in altered sensory environments, such as turbid conditions. Depending on the environment, prey may use cues in an additive/complementary manner or in a compensatory manner. First, to determine whether the purely aquatic Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum, show an antipredator response to visual cues, we examined their activity when exposed to either visual cues of a predatory fish (Lepomis cyanellus) or a non-predatory fish (Etheostoma lepidum). Salamanders decreased activity in response to predator visual cues only. Then, we examined the antipredator response of these salamanders to all matched and mismatched combinations of chemical and visual cues of the same predatory and non-predatory fish in clear and low turbidity conditions. Salamanders decreased activity in response to predator chemical cues matched with predator visual cues or mismatched with non-predator visual cues. Salamanders also increased latency to first move to predator chemical cues mismatched with non-predator visual cues. Salamanders decreased activity and increased latency to first move more in clear as opposed to turbid conditions in all treatment combinations. Our results indicate that salamanders under all conditions and treatments preferentially rely on chemical cues to determine antipredator behavior, although visual cues are potentially utilized in conjunction for latency to first move. Our results also have potential conservation implications, as decreased antipredator behavior was seen in turbid conditions. These results reveal complexity of antipredator behavior in response to multiple cues under different environmental conditions, which is especially important when considering endangered species. PMID:27370360

  16. Salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) in the United States—Developing research, monitoring, and management strategies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Muths, Erin L.; Katz, Rachel A.; Canessa, Stefano; Adams, Michael J.; Ballard, Jennifer R.; Berger, Lee; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Coleman, Jeremy; Gray, Matthew J.; Harris, M. Camille; Harris, Reid N.; Hossack, Blake R.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Kolby, Jonathan E.; Lips, Karen R.; Lovich, Robert E.; McCallum, Hamish I.; Mendelson, Joseph R., III; Nanjappa, Priya; Olson, Deanna H.; Powers, Jenny G.; Richgels, Katherine L.D.; Russell, Robin E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieka; Watry, Mary Kay; Woodhams, Douglas C.; White, C. LeAnn

    2016-01-01

    The recently (2013) identified pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), poses a severe threat to the distribution and abundance of salamanders within the United States and Europe. Development of a response strategy for the potential, and likely, invasion of Bsal into the United States is crucial to protect global salamander biodiversity. A formal working group, led by Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins Science Center, and Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, was held at the USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States from June 23 to June 25, 2015, to identify crucial Bsal research and monitoring needs that could inform conservation and management strategies for salamanders in the United States. Key findings of the workshop included the following: (1) the introduction of Bsal into the United States is highly probable, if not inevitable, thus requiring development of immediate short-term and long-term intervention strategies to prevent Bsal establishment and biodiversity decline; (2) management actions targeted towards pathogen containment may be ineffective in reducing the long-term spread of Bsal throughout the United States; and (3) early detection of Bsal through surveillance at key amphibian import locations, among high-risk wild populations, and through analysis of archived samples is necessary for developing management responses. Top research priorities during the preinvasion stage included the following: (1) deployment of qualified diagnostic methods for Bsal and establishment of standardized laboratory practices, (2) assessment of susceptibility for amphibian hosts (including anurans), and (3) development and evaluation of short- and long-term pathogen intervention and management strategies. Several outcomes were achieved during the workshop, including development

  17. Influence of observers and stream flow on northern two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata bislineata) relative abundance estimates in Acadia and Shenandoah National Parks, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crocker, J.B.; Bank, M.S.; Loftin, C.S.; Jung Brown, R.E.

    2007-01-01

    We investigated effects of observers and stream flow on Northern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata bislineata) counts in streams in Acadia (ANP) and Shenandoah National Parks (SNP). We counted salamanders in 22 ANP streams during high flow (May to June 2002) and during low flow (July 2002). We also counted salamanders in SNP in nine streams during high flow (summer 2003) and 11 streams during low flow (summers 2001?02, 2004). In 2002, we used a modified cover-controlled active search method with a first and second observer. In succession, observers turned over 100 rocks along five 1-m belt transects across the streambed. The difference between observers in total salamander counts was not significant. We counted fewer E. b. bislineata during high flow conditions, confirming that detection of this species is reduced during high flow periods and that assessment of stream salamander relative abundance is likely more reliable during low or base flow conditions.

  18. Metals, Parasites, and Environmental Conditions Affecting Breeding Populations of Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in Northern Arkansas, USA.

    PubMed

    DeMali, Heather M; Trauth, Stanley E; Bouldin, Jennifer L

    2016-06-01

    The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is indigenous to northern Arkansas, and several breeding sites are known to exist in the region. Spotted salamanders (n = 17) were collected and examined for parasites and only three females harbored nematodes (Physaloptera spp.). Chronic aquatic bioassays were conducted using water collected from eight breeding ponds during different hydroperiod events. No lethal or sublethal effects were measured in Ceriodaphnia dubia; however, decreased growth and survival were seen in Pimephales promelas. Aqueous, sediment, and salamander hepatic samples were analyzed for As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Ni. Metal analysis revealed possible increased metal exposure following precipitation, with greatest metal concentrations measured in sediment samples. Hepatic metal concentrations were similar in parasitized and non-parasitized individuals, and greatest Pb concentrations were measured following normal precipitation events. Determining environmental stressors of amphibians, especially during their breeding and subsequent larval life stage, is imperative to improve species conservation. PMID:26886425

  19. United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation

    MedlinePlus

    ... Caregivers! Want to help? Enroll now in the Mitochondrial Disease Community Registry to advance the development of treatments and cures. HOME What is Mitochondrial Disease Types of Mitochondrial Disease Possible Symptoms Getting a ...

  20. What Is Mitochondrial DNA?

    MedlinePlus

    ... DNA What is mitochondrial DNA? What is mitochondrial DNA? Although most DNA is packaged in chromosomes within ... proteins. For more information about mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA: Molecular Expressions, a web site from the Florida ...

  1. Dose rate estimation of the Tohoku hynobiid salamander, Hynobius lichenatus, in Fukushima.

    PubMed

    Fuma, Shoichi; Ihara, Sadao; Kawaguchi, Isao; Ishikawa, Takahiro; Watanabe, Yoshito; Kubota, Yoshihisa; Sato, Youji; Takahashi, Hiroyuki; Aono, Tatsuo; Ishii, Nobuyoshi; Soeda, Haruhi; Matsui, Kumi; Une, Yumi; Minamiya, Yukio; Yoshida, Satoshi

    2015-05-01

    The radiological risks to the Tohoku hynobiid salamanders (class Amphibia), Hynobius lichenatus due to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident were assessed in Fukushima Prefecture, including evacuation areas. Aquatic egg clutches (n = 1 for each sampling date and site; n = 4 in total), overwintering larvae (n = 1-5 for each sampling date and site; n = 17 in total), and terrestrial juveniles or adults (n = 1 or 3 for each sampling date and site; n = 12 in total) of H. lichenatus were collected from the end of April 2011 to April 2013. Environmental media such as litter (n = 1-5 for each sampling date and site; n = 30 in total), soil (n = 1-8 for each sampling date and site; n = 31 in total), water (n = 1 for each sampling date and site; n = 17 in total), and sediment (n = 1 for each sampling date and site; n = 17 in total) were also collected. Activity concentrations of (134)Cs + (137)Cs were 1.9-2800, 0.13-320, and 0.51-220 kBq (dry kg) (-1) in the litter, soil, and sediment samples, respectively, and were 0.31-220 and <0.29-40 kBq (wet kg)(-1) in the adult and larval salamanders, respectively. External and internal absorbed dose rates to H. lichenatus were calculated from these activity concentration data, using the ERICA Assessment Tool methodology. External dose rates were also measured in situ with glass dosimeters. There was agreement within a factor of 2 between the calculated and measured external dose rates. In the most severely contaminated habitat of this salamander, a northern part of Abukuma Mountains, the highest total dose rates were estimated to be 50 and 15 μGy h(-1) for the adults and overwintering larvae, respectively. Growth and survival of H. lichenatus was not affected at a dose rate of up to 490 μGy h(-1) in the previous laboratory chronic gamma-irradiation experiment, and thus growth and survival of this salamander would not be affected, even in the most severely contaminated habitat in Fukushima Prefecture. However, further

  2. The role of climate in the dynamics of a hybrid zone in Appalachian salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, Susan

    2009-01-01

    I examined the potential influence of climate change on the dynamics of a previously studied hybrid zone between a pair of terrestrial salamanders at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, U.S. Forest Service, in the Nantahala Mountains of North Carolina, USA. A 16-year study led by Nelson G. Hairston, Sr. revealed that Plethodon teyahalee and Plethodon shermani hybridized at intermediate elevations, forming a cline between 'pure' parental P. teyahalee at lower elevations and 'pure' parental P. shermani at higher elevations. From 1974 to 1990 the proportion of salamanders at the higher elevation scored as 'pure' P. shermani declined significantly, indicating that the hybrid zone was spreading upward. To date there have been no rigorous tests of hypotheses for the movement of this hybrid zone. Using temperature and precipitation data from Coweeta, I re-analyzed Hairston's data to examine whether the observed elevational shift was correlated with variation in either air temperature or precipitation from the same time period. For temperature, my analysis tracked the results of the original study: the proportion of 'pure' P. shermani at the higher elevation declined significantly with increasing mean annual temperature, whereas the proportion of 'pure' P. teyahalee at lower elevations did not. There was no discernable relationship between proportions of 'pure' individuals of either species with variation in precipitation. From 1974 to 1990, low-elevation air temperatures at the Coweeta Laboratory ranged from annual means of 11.8 to 14.2 °C, compared with a 55-year average (1936-1990) of 12.6 °C. My re-analyses indicate that the upward spread of the hybrid zone is correlated with increasing air temperatures, but not precipitation, and provide an empirical test of a hypothesis for one factor that may have influenced this movement. My results aid in understanding the potential impact that climate change may have on the ecology and evolution of terrestrial salamanders in

  3. Using counts to simultaneously estimate abundance and detection probabilities in a salamander community

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodd, C.K., Jr.; Dorazio, R.M.

    2004-01-01

    A critical variable in both ecological and conservation field studies is determining how many individuals of a species are present within a defined sampling area. Labor intensive techniques such as capture-mark-recapture and removal sampling may provide estimates of abundance, but there are many logistical constraints to their widespread application. Many studies on terrestrial and aquatic salamanders use counts as an index of abundance, assuming that detection remains constant while sampling. If this constancy is violated, determination of detection probabilities is critical to the accurate estimation of abundance. Recently, a model was developed that provides a statistical approach that allows abundance and detection to be estimated simultaneously from spatially and temporally replicated counts. We adapted this model to estimate these parameters for salamanders sampled over a six vear period in area-constrained plots in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Estimates of salamander abundance varied among years, but annual changes in abundance did not vary uniformly among species. Except for one species, abundance estimates were not correlated with site covariates (elevation/soil and water pH, conductivity, air and water temperature). The uncertainty in the estimates was so large as to make correlations ineffectual in predicting which covariates might influence abundance. Detection probabilities also varied among species and sometimes among years for the six species examined. We found such a high degree of variation in our counts and in estimates of detection among species, sites, and years as to cast doubt upon the appropriateness of using count data to monitor population trends using a small number of area-constrained survey plots. Still, the model provided reasonable estimates of abundance that could make it useful in estimating population size from count surveys.

  4. Behavioral and physiological antipredator responses of the San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana.

    PubMed

    Davis, Drew R; Gabor, Caitlin R

    2015-02-01

    Exposure to predatory stimuli typically results in the elevation of circulating glucocorticoid levels and a behavioral response of freezing or escape behavior in many prey species. Corticosterone (CORT) is the main glucocorticoid in amphibians and is known to be important in modulating many behaviors and developmental functions. The federally threatened San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana, decreases activity in response to both native and introduced predatory fish, however, experience may further influence these interactions. To better understand the indirect effects of fish predators on this salamander, we examined both the antipredator behavior and water-borne CORT release rates in response to chemical cues (kairomones) from two fish species that varied in temporal risk of predation: (1) a low encounter frequency predator (largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides), (2) a high encounter frequency predator (redbreast sunfish, Lepomis auritus), and (3) a blank water control. Salamanders reduced activity (antipredator response) after exposure to both predator treatments, but not to the blank water control, and the response to M. salmoides was significantly stronger than that to L. auritus. The CORT response (post-stimulus/pre-stimulus release rates) did not differ between the blank water control and L. auritus treatments, and both were significantly less than the CORT response to M. salmoides. Overall, E. nana showed a decreased antipredator response and no CORT response towards the high encounter frequency L. auritus as compared to the low encounter frequency M. salmoides. Eurycea nana may mute antipredator and CORT responses to high temporal frequency predators. There was, however, no correlation between CORT release rates and antipredator behavior, which suggests that the presence of predators may be affecting CORT response and behavior independently. PMID:25446225

  5. Complete nucleotide sequence and gene rearrangement of the mitochondrial genome of the bell-ring frog, Buergeria buergeri (family Rhacophoridae).

    PubMed

    Sano, Naomi; Kurabayashi, Atsushi; Fujii, Tamotsu; Yonekawa, Hiromichi; Sumida, Masayuki

    2004-06-01

    In this study we determined the complete nucleotide sequence (19,959 bp) of the mitochondrial DNA of the rhacophorid frog Buergeria buergeri. The gene content, nucleotide composition, and codon usage of B. buergeri conformed to those of typical vertebrate patterns. However, due to an accumulation of lengthy repetitive sequences in the D-loop region, this species possesses the largest mitochondrial genome among all the vertebrates examined so far. Comparison of the gene organizations among amphibian species (Rana, Xenopus, salamanders and caecilians) revealed that the positioning of four tRNA genes and the ND5 gene in the mtDNA of B. buergeri diverged from the common vertebrate gene arrangement shared by Xenopus, salamanders and caecilians. The unique positions of the tRNA genes in B. buergeri are shared by ranid frogs, indicating that the rearrangements of the tRNA genes occurred in a common ancestral lineage of ranids and rhacophorids. On the other hand, the novel position of the ND5 gene seems to have arisen in a lineage leading to rhacophorids (and other closely related taxa) after ranid divergence. Phylogenetic analysis based on nucleotide sequence data of all mitochondrial genes also supported the gene rearrangement pathway. PMID:15329496

  6. Role of habitat complexity in predator-prey dynamics between an introduced fish and larval Long-toed Salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kenison, Erin K; Litt, Andrea R.; Pilliod, David; McMahon, Tom E

    2016-01-01

    Predation by nonnative fishes has reduced abundance and increased extinction risk for amphibian populations worldwide. Although rare, fish and palatable amphibians have been observed to coexist where aquatic vegetation and structural complexity provide suitable refugia. We examined whether larval long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird, 1849) increased use of vegetation cover in lakes with trout and whether adding vegetation structure could reduce predation risk and nonconsumptive effects (NCEs), such as reductions in body size and delayed metamorphosis. We compared use of vegetation cover by larval salamanders in lakes with and without trout and conducted a field experiment to investigate the influence of added vegetation structure on salamander body morphology and life history. The probability of catching salamanders in traps in lakes with trout was positively correlated with the proportion of submerged vegetation and surface cover. Growth rates of salamanders in enclosures with trout cues decreased as much as 85% and the probability of metamorphosis decreased by 56%. We did not find evidence that adding vegetation reduced NCEs in experimental enclosures, but salamanders in lakes with trout utilized more highly-vegetated areas which suggests that adding vegetation structure at the scale of the whole lake may facilitate coexistence between salamanders and introduced trout.

  7. Linking the evolution of habitat choice to ecosystem functioning: direct and indirect effects of pond-reproducing fire salamanders on aquatic-terrestrial subsidies.

    PubMed

    Reinhardt, Timm; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Paetzold, Achim; Weitere, Markus

    2013-09-01

    Shifts in life history traits and in the behaviour of species can potentially alter ecosystem functioning. The reproduction of the central European fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), which usually deposits its larvae in first-order streams, in small pool and pond-like habitats, is an example of a recent local adaptation in this species. Here we aimed to quantify the direct and indirect effects of the predatory larvae on the aquatic food webs in the ponds and on the flux of matter between the ponds and adjacent terrestrial habitats. Our estimates are based on biomass data of the present pond fauna as well as on the analysis of stomach content data, growth rates and population dynamics of the salamander larvae in pond habitats. By their deposition of larvae in early spring, female fire salamanders import between 0.07 and 2.86 g dry mass m(-2) larval biomass into the ponds. Due to high mortality rates in the larval phase and the relatively small size at metamorphosis of the pond-adapted salamanders compared to stream-adapted ones, the biomass export of the metamorphosed salamanders clearly falls below the initial biomass import. Catastrophic events such as high water temperatures and low oxygen levels may even occasionally result in mass mortalities of salamander larvae and thus in a net 100 % import of the salamander biomass into the pond food webs. Indirect effects further accelerate this net import of matter into the aquatic habitat, e.g. the feeding of salamanders on aquatic insect larvae with the emergence of terrestrial adults-thus preventing export-and on terrestrial organisms that fall on the water surface (supporting import). This study demonstrates that the adaptation of salamanders to pond reproduction can alter food web linkages across ecosystem boundaries by enhancing the flux of materials and energy from terrestrial (i.e. forest) to the aquatic (i.e. pond) habitat. PMID:23358795

  8. Persistence and extirpation in invaded landscapes: patch characteristics and connectivity determine effects of non-native predatory fish on native salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert S.; Maxell, Bryce A.

    2012-01-01

    Studies have demonstrated negative effects of non-native, predatory fishes on native amphibians, yet it is still unclear why some amphibian populations persist, while others are extirpated, following fish invasion. We examined this question by developing habitat-based occupancy models for the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and nonnative fish using survey data from 1,749 water bodies across 470 catchments in the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA. We first modeled the habitat associations of salamanders at 468 fishless water bodies in 154 catchments where non-native fish were historically, and are currently, absent from the entire catchment. Wethen applied this habitat model to the complete data set to predict the probability of salamander occupancy in each water body, removing any effect of fish presence. Finally, we compared field-observed occurrences of salamanders and fish to modeled probability of salamander occupancy. Suitability models indicated that fish and salamanders had similar habitat preferences, possibly resulting in extirpations of salamander populations from entire catchments where suitable habitats were limiting. Salamanders coexisted with non-native fish in some catchments by using marginal quality, isolated (no inlet or outlet) habitats that remained fishless. They rarely coexisted with fish within individual water bodies and only where habitat quality was highest. Connectivity of water bodies via streams resulted in increased probability of fish invasion and consequently reduced probability of salamander occupancy.These results could be used to identify and prioritize catchments and water bodies where control measures would be most effective at restoring amphibian populations. Our approach could be useful as a framework for improved investigations into questions of persistence and extirpation of native species when non-native species have already become established.

  9. INFLUENCE OF HABITAT CHARACTERISTICS ON DETECTED SITE OCCUPANCY OF THE NEW MEXICO ENDEMIC SACRAMENTO MOUNTAINS SALAMANDER, ANEIDES HARDII

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Sacramento Mountains Salamander (Aneides hardii) is a state-listed threatened species endemic to three mountain ranges in south central New Mexico. Information about the ecological requirements of this species is inadequate for managers to make informed conservation decisions, yet changes in ma...

  10. 76 FR 55413 - Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for California Red-legged Frog, California Tiger Salamander, Smith...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-09-07

    ... Register on June 17, 1999 (64 FR 32717), the Service would issue a permit to the Applicant authorizing take... Tiger Salamander, Smith's Blue Butterfly, and Yadon's Piperia at Palo Corona Regional Park, Monterey... californiense) and federally endangered Smith's blue butterfly (Euphilotes enoptes smithi) under the...

  11. Transcriptome analysis of the endangered Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus): Immune modulation in response to Aeromonas hydrophila infection.

    PubMed

    Qi, Zhitao; Zhang, Qihuan; Wang, Zisheng; Ma, Tianyi; Zhou, Jie; Holland, Jason W; Gao, Qian

    2016-01-01

    The endangered Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest extant amphibian species. Disease outbreaks represent one of the major factors threatening A. davidianus populations in the wild and the viability of artificial breeding programmes. Development of future immune therapies to eliminate infectious disease in A. davidianus is dependent on a thorough understanding of the immune mechanisms elicited by pathogen encounters. To this end we have undertaken, for the first time in amphibians, differential transcriptome analysis of the giant salamander response to Aeromonas hydrophila, one of the most devastating pathogens affecting amphibian populations. Out of 87,204 non-redundant consensus unigenes 19,216 were annotated, 6834 of which were upregulated and 906 down-regulated following bacterial infection. 2058 unigenes were involved with immune system processes, including 287 differentially expressed unigenes indicative of the impact of bacterial infection on several innate and adaptive immune pathways in the giant salamander. Other pathways not directly associated with immune-related activity were differentially expressed, including developmental, structural, molecular and growth processes. Overall, this work provides valuable insights into the underlying immune mechanisms elicited during bacterial infection in amphibians that may aid in the future development of disease control measures in protecting the Chinese giant salamander. With the unique position of amphibians in the transition of tetrapods from aquatic to terrestrial habitats, our study will also be invaluable towards the further understanding of the evolution of tetrapod immunity. PMID:26620078

  12. Feeding Preferences of the Larval Southern Two-Lined Salamander, Eurycea Cirrigera, in an Impacted Agricultural Area, Southwest Georgia.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muenz, T. K.; Golladay, S. W.; Smith, L. L.; Vellidis, G.

    2005-05-01

    Feeding preference of the stream-dwelling Southern Two-lined Salamander, Eurycea cirrigera, was examined in streams affected by agricultural practices in southwest Georgia. Larvae were collected within bimonthly benthic macroinvertebrate samples from February 2002 to February 2003. Five stream reaches were sampled, two of which were fenced from cattle and three allowed cattle access. Forty larvae were recovered from the invertebrate collections, with significantly higher captures at fenced sites than unfenced sites. The entire digestive tract was removed from larvae and stomach contents were examined to better understand prey selection in streams with differing intensities of adjacent agricultural land-use. Invertebrates were enumerated in 34 salamander stomachs, with Chironomidae comprising the largest percentage of individuals found, both in stomach contents and habitat collections. Electivity values showed a wide range of variability among individual salamanders, however, overall indices suggest slight positive selection for a subfamily of the Chironomidae, the Tanypodinae. It appears that E.cirrigera larvae select for Tanypodinae, however, this invertebrate group was found at all stream sites, suggesting factors other than prey abundance, such as stream habitat quality, may also influence larval salamander abundance.

  13. Estimating site occupancy and species detection probability parameters for terrestrial salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bailey, L.L.; Simons, T.R.; Pollock, K.H.

    2004-01-01

    Recent, worldwide amphibian declines have highlighted a need for more extensive and rigorous monitoring programs to document species occurrence and detect population change. Abundance estimation methods, such as mark-recapture, are often expensive and impractical for large-scale or long-term amphibian monitoring. We apply a new method to estimate proportion of area occupied using detection/nondetection data from a terrestrial salamander system in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Estimated species-specific detection probabilities were all <1 and varied among seven species and four sampling methods. Time (i.e., sampling occasion) and four large-scale habitat characteristics (previous disturbance history, vegetation type, elevation, and stream presence) were important covariates in estimates of both proportion of area occupied and detection probability. All sampling methods were consistent in their ability to identify important covariates for each salamander species. We believe proportion of area occupied represents a useful state variable for large-scale monitoring programs. However, our results emphasize the importance of estimating detection and occupancy probabilities rather than using an unadjusted proportion of sites where species are observed where actual occupancy probabilities are confounded with detection probabilities. Estimated detection probabilities accommodate variations in sampling effort; thus comparisons of occupancy probabilities are possible among studies with different sampling protocols.

  14. Cutaneous mastocytomas in the neotenic caudate amphibians Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl) and Ambystoma tigrinun (tiger salamander)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harshbarger, J.C.; Chang, S.C.; DeLanney, L.E.; Rose, F.L.; Green, D.E.

    1999-01-01

    Spontaneous mastocytomas studied in 18 axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) and six tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) were gray-white, uni- to multilobular cutaneous protrusions from 2mm to 2cm in diameter. Tumors were moderately cellular unencapsulated masses that usually infiltrated the dermis and hypodermis with the destruction of intervening tissues. Some tumors were invading superficial bundles of the underlying skeletal muscle. Tumors consisted of mitotically active cells derived from a single lineage but showing a range of differentiation. Immature cells had nearly smooth to lightly cleft or folded basophilic nuclei bordered by a band of cytoplasm with few cytoplasmic processes and containing a few small uniform eccentric granules. Mature cells had basophilic nuclei with deep clefts or folds and abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm with multiple long intertwining cytoplasmic extensions packed with metachromatic granules. The axolotls were old individuals from an inbred laboratory colony. The tiger salamanders were wild animals from a single polluted pond. They could have been old and inbred. Both groups were neotenic. These are the first mastocytomas discovered in cold-blooded animals.

  15. Successful treatment of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans infections in salamanders requires synergy between voriconazole, polymyxin E and temperature

    PubMed Central

    Blooi, M.; Pasmans, F.; Rouffaer, L.; Haesebrouck, F.; Vercammen, F.; Martel, A.

    2015-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) poses a serious threat to urodelan diversity worldwide. Antimycotic treatment of this disease using protocols developed for the related fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), results in therapeutic failure. Here, we reveal that this therapeutic failure is partly due to different minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of antimycotics against Bsal and Bd. In vitro growth inhibition of Bsal occurs after exposure to voriconazole, polymyxin E, itraconazole and terbinafine but not to florfenicol. Synergistic effects between polymyxin E and voriconazole or itraconazole significantly decreased the combined MICs necessary to inhibit Bsal growth. Topical treatment of infected fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), with voriconazole or itraconazole alone (12.5 μg/ml and 0.6 μg/ml respectively) or in combination with polymyxin E (2000 IU/ml) at an ambient temperature of 15 °C during 10 days decreased fungal loads but did not clear Bsal infections. However, topical treatment of Bsal infected animals with a combination of polymyxin E (2000 IU/ml) and voriconazole (12.5 μg/ml) at an ambient temperature of 20 °C resulted in clearance of Bsal infections. This treatment protocol was validated in 12 fire salamanders infected with Bsal during a field outbreak and resulted in clearance of infection in all animals. PMID:26123899

  16. Successful treatment of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans infections in salamanders requires synergy between voriconazole, polymyxin E and temperature.

    PubMed

    Blooi, M; Pasmans, F; Rouffaer, L; Haesebrouck, F; Vercammen, F; Martel, A

    2015-01-01

    Chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) poses a serious threat to urodelan diversity worldwide. Antimycotic treatment of this disease using protocols developed for the related fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), results in therapeutic failure. Here, we reveal that this therapeutic failure is partly due to different minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of antimycotics against Bsal and Bd. In vitro growth inhibition of Bsal occurs after exposure to voriconazole, polymyxin E, itraconazole and terbinafine but not to florfenicol. Synergistic effects between polymyxin E and voriconazole or itraconazole significantly decreased the combined MICs necessary to inhibit Bsal growth. Topical treatment of infected fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), with voriconazole or itraconazole alone (12.5 μg/ml and 0.6 μg/ml respectively) or in combination with polymyxin E (2000 IU/ml) at an ambient temperature of 15 °C during 10 days decreased fungal loads but did not clear Bsal infections. However, topical treatment of Bsal infected animals with a combination of polymyxin E (2000 IU/ml) and voriconazole (12.5 μg/ml) at an ambient temperature of 20 °C resulted in clearance of Bsal infections. This treatment protocol was validated in 12 fire salamanders infected with Bsal during a field outbreak and resulted in clearance of infection in all animals. PMID:26123899

  17. Avian, salamander, and forest floor mercury concentrations increase with elevation in a terrestrial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Townsend, Jason M; Driscoll, Charles T; Rimmer, Christopher C; McFarland, Kent P

    2014-01-01

    High-elevation ecosystems of the northeastern United States are vulnerable to deposition and environmental accumulation of atmospheric pollutants, yet little work has been done to assess mercury (Hg) concentrations in organisms occupying montane ecosystems. The authors present data on Hg concentrations in ground-foraging insectivorous songbirds, a terrestrial salamander, and forest floor horizons sampled along a forested elevational gradient from 185 m to 1273 m in the Catskill Mountains, New York, USA. Mean Hg concentrations in Catharus thrushes and the salamander Plethodon cinereus increased with elevation, as did Hg concentrations in all forest floor horizons. Mean Hg concentrations in organic soils at approximately 1200 m elevation (503.5 ± 17.7 ng/g, dry wt) were 4.4-fold greater than those at approximately 200 m. Montane ecosystems of the northeastern United States, and probably elsewhere, are exposed to higher levels of atmospheric Hg deposition as reflected in accumulation patterns in the forest floor and associated high-elevation fauna. This information can be used to parameterize and test Hg transport and bioaccumulation models of landscape-specific patterns and may serve as a monitoring tool for decision makers considering future controls on Hg emissions. Further investigation is needed into the potential effects of increased Hg concentrations on high-elevation fauna. PMID:24302165

  18. Toxicological responses of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to soil exposures of copper.

    PubMed

    Bazar, Matthew A; Quinn, Michael J; Mozzachio, Kristie; Bleiler, John A; Archer, Christine R; Phillips, Carlton T; Johnson, Mark S

    2009-07-01

    Copper (Cu) has widespread military use in munitions and small arms, particularly as a protective jacket for lead projectiles. The distribution of Cu at many US military sites is substantial and sites of contamination include habitats in and around military storage facilities, manufacturing, load and packing plants, open burning/open detonation areas, and firing ranges. Some of these areas include habitat for amphibian species, which generally lack toxicity data for risk assessment purposes. In an effort to ascertain Cu concentrations in soil that are toxic to terrestrial amphibians, 100 red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) were randomly sorted by weight, assigned to either a control soil or one of four treatments amended with copper acetate in soil, and exposed for 28 days. Analytical mean soil concentrations were 18, 283, 803, 1333, and 2700 mg Cu/kg soil dry weight. Food consisted of uncontaminated flightless Drosophila melanogaster. Survival was reduced in salamanders exposed to 1333 and 2700 mg/kg by 55% and 100%, respectively. Mortality/morbidity occurred within the first 4 days of exposure. These data suggest that a Cu soil concentration of and exceeding 1333.3 +/- 120.2 mg/kg results in reduced survival, whereas hematology analyses suggest that a concentration of and exceeding 803.3 +/- 98.4 mg/kg might result in reduced total white blood cell count. No effects were observed at 283.3 +/- 36.7 mg/kg. PMID:18825446

  19. Origin and control of the dominant time constant of salamander cone photoreceptors

    PubMed Central

    Zang, Jingjing

    2012-01-01

    Recovery of the light response in vertebrate photoreceptors requires the shutoff of both active intermediates in the phototransduction cascade: the visual pigment and the transducin–phosphodiesterase complex. Whichever intermediate quenches more slowly will dominate photoresponse recovery. In suction pipette recordings from isolated salamander ultraviolet- and blue-sensitive cones, response recovery was delayed, and the dominant time constant slowed when internal [Ca2+] was prevented from changing after a bright flash by exposure to 0Ca2+/0Na+ solution. Taken together with a similar prior observation in salamander red-sensitive cones, these observations indicate that the dominance of response recovery by a Ca2+-sensitive process is a general feature of amphibian cone phototransduction. Moreover, changes in the external pH also influenced the dominant time constant of red-sensitive cones even when changes in internal [Ca2+] were prevented. Because the cone photopigment is, uniquely, exposed to the external solution, this may represent a direct effect of protons on the equilibrium between its inactive Meta I and active Meta II forms, consistent with the notion that the process dominating recovery of the bright flash response represents quenching of the active Meta II form of the cone photopigment. PMID:22802362

  20. Computer-assisted photo identification outperforms visible implant elastomers in an endangered salamander, Eurycea tonkawae.

    PubMed

    Bendik, Nathan F; Morrison, Thomas A; Gluesenkamp, Andrew G; Sanders, Mark S; O'Donnell, Lisa J

    2013-01-01

    Despite recognition that nearly one-third of the 6300 amphibian species are threatened with extinction, our understanding of the general ecology and population status of many amphibians is relatively poor. A widely-used method for monitoring amphibians involves injecting captured individuals with unique combinations of colored visible implant elastomer (VIE). We compared VIE identification to a less-invasive method - computer-assisted photographic identification (photoID) - in endangered Jollyville Plateau salamanders (Eurycea tonkawae), a species with a known range limited to eight stream drainages in central Texas. We based photoID on the unique pigmentation patterns on the dorsal head region of 1215 individual salamanders using identification software Wild-ID. We compared the performance of photoID methods to VIEs using both 'high-quality' and 'low-quality' images, which were taken using two different camera types and technologies. For high-quality images, the photoID method had a false rejection rate of 0.76% compared to 1.90% for VIEs. Using a comparable dataset of lower-quality images, the false rejection rate was much higher (15.9%). Photo matching scores were negatively correlated with time between captures, suggesting that evolving natural marks could increase misidentification rates in longer term capture-recapture studies. Our study demonstrates the utility of large-scale capture-recapture using photo identification methods for Eurycea and other species with stable natural marks that can be reliably photographed. PMID:23555669

  1. Non-additive response of larval ringed salamanders to intraspecific density.

    PubMed

    Ousterhout, Brittany H; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2016-04-01

    Conditions experienced in early developmental stages can have long-term consequences for individual fitness. High intraspecific density during the natal period can affect juvenile and eventually adult growth rates, metabolism, immune function, survival, and fecundity. Despite the important ecological and evolutionary effects of early developmental density, the form of the relationship between natal density and resulting juvenile phenotype is poorly understood. To test competing hypotheses explaining responses to intraspecific density, we experimentally manipulated the initial larval density of ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum), a pond-breeding amphibian, over 11 densities. We modeled the functional form of the relationship between natal density and juvenile traits, and compared the relative support for the various hypotheses based on their goodness of fit. These functional form models were then used to parameterize a simple simulation model of population growth. Our data support non-additive density dependence and presents an alternate hypothesis to additive density dependence, self-thinning and Allee effects in larval amphibians. We posit that ringed salamander larvae may be under selective pressure for tolerance to high density and increased efficiency in resource utilization. Additionally, we demonstrate that models of population dynamics are sensitive to assumptions of the functional form of density dependence. PMID:26683834

  2. Purification and characterization of cholecystokinin from the skin of salamander Tylototriton verrucosus

    PubMed Central

    JIANG, Wen-Bin; HAKIM, Ma; LUO, Lei; LI, Bo-Wen; YANG, Shi-Long; SONG, Yu-Zhu; LAI, Ren; LU, Qiu-Min

    2015-01-01

    As a group of intestinal hormones and neurotransmitters, cholecystokinins (CCKs) regulate and affect pancreatic enzyme secretion, gastrointestinal motility, pain hypersensitivity, digestion and satiety, and generally contain a DYMGWMDFG sequence at the C-terminus. Many CCKs have been reported in mammals. However, only a few have been reported in amphibians, such as Hyla nigrovittata, Xenopus laevis, and Rana catesbeiana, with none reported in urodele amphibians like newts and salamanders. Here, a CCK called CCK-TV was identified and characterized from the skin of the salamander Tylototriton verrucosus. This CCK contained an amino acid sequence of DYMGWMDF-NH2 as seen in other CCKs. A cDNA encoding the CCK precursor containing 129 amino acid residues was cloned from the cDNA library of T. verrucosus skin. The CCK-TV had the potential to induce the contraction of smooth muscle strips isolated from porcine gallbladder, eliciting contraction at a concentration of 5.0x10-11 mol/L and inducing maximal contraction at a concentration of 2.0x10-6 mol/L. The EC50 was 13.6 nmol/L. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to identify the presence of a CCK in an urodele amphibian. PMID:26018861

  3. Coalescence patterns of endemic Tibetan species of stream salamanders (Hynobiidae: Batrachuperus).

    PubMed

    Lu, Bin; Zheng, Yuchi; Murphy, Robert W; Zeng, Xiaomao

    2012-07-01

    Orogenesis of topographically diverse montane regions often drives complex evolutionary histories of species. The extensive biodiversity of the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, which gradually decreases eastwardly, facilitates a comparison of historical patterns. We use coalescence methods to compare species of stream salamanders (Batrachuperus) that occur at high and low elevations. Coalescent simulations reveal that closely related species are likely to have been influenced by different drivers of diversification. Species living in the western high-elevation region with its northsouth extending mountains appear to have experienced colonization via dispersal followed by isolation and divergence. In contrast, species on the eastern low-elevation region, which has many discontinuous mountain ranges, appear to have experienced fragmentation, sometimes staged, of wide-ranging ancestral populations. The two groups of species appear to have been affected differently by glaciation. High-elevation species, which are more resistant to cooler temperatures, appear to have experienced population declines as recently as the last glaciation (0.016-0.032Ma). In contrast, salamanders dwelling in the warmer and wetter habitats at low-elevation environs appear to have been affected less by the relatively recent, milder glaciation, and more so by harsher, extensive glaciations (0.5-0.175 Ma). Thus, elevation, topography and cold tolerance appear to drive evolutionary patterns of diversification and demography even among closely related taxa. The comparison of multiple species in genealogical analyses can lead to an understanding of the evolutionary drivers. PMID:22571598

  4. Phenotypic variation in metamorphosis and paedomorphosis in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum

    SciTech Connect

    Semlitsch, R.D.; Gibbons, J.W.

    1985-08-01

    Phenotypic variation in metamorphosis and paedomorphosis in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum was examined to determine its environmental or genetic basis. Eight artificial ponds were maintained, four at each of two environmental treatments: constant water level, to simulate fish-free permanent breeding ponds, and gradual drying out, to simulate temporary breeding ponds. Two populations of salamanders were used, derived from two breeding ponds having different frequencies of paedomorphosis. The water level in the drying treatment was lowered during the last 10 wk of the experimental period with no apparent differences in water chemistry parameters between treatments and only a slight change in water temperature during the last 2 wk. The effects of water level were potentially confounded by those of water temperature, density of larvae, and amount food. Population differences in the frequency of metamorphosis and paedomorphosis could potentially represent genetic differences resulting from the different selective regimes that individuals encounter in breeding ponds varying in drying frequency. 35 references, 3 figures, 4 tables.

  5. Computer-Assisted Photo Identification Outperforms Visible Implant Elastomers in an Endangered Salamander, Eurycea tonkawae

    PubMed Central

    Bendik, Nathan F.; Morrison, Thomas A.; Gluesenkamp, Andrew G.; Sanders, Mark S.; O’Donnell, Lisa J.

    2013-01-01

    Despite recognition that nearly one-third of the 6300 amphibian species are threatened with extinction, our understanding of the general ecology and population status of many amphibians is relatively poor. A widely-used method for monitoring amphibians involves injecting captured individuals with unique combinations of colored visible implant elastomer (VIE). We compared VIE identification to a less-invasive method – computer-assisted photographic identification (photoID) – in endangered Jollyville Plateau salamanders (Eurycea tonkawae), a species with a known range limited to eight stream drainages in central Texas. We based photoID on the unique pigmentation patterns on the dorsal head region of 1215 individual salamanders using identification software Wild-ID. We compared the performance of photoID methods to VIEs using both ‘high-quality’ and ‘low-quality’ images, which were taken using two different camera types and technologies. For high-quality images, the photoID method had a false rejection rate of 0.76% compared to 1.90% for VIEs. Using a comparable dataset of lower-quality images, the false rejection rate was much higher (15.9%). Photo matching scores were negatively correlated with time between captures, suggesting that evolving natural marks could increase misidentification rates in longer term capture-recapture studies. Our study demonstrates the utility of large-scale capture-recapture using photo identification methods for Eurycea and other species with stable natural marks that can be reliably photographed. PMID:23555669

  6. Tuataras and salamanders show that walking and running mechanics are ancient features of tetrapod locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Reilly, Stephen M; McElroy, Eric J; Andrew Odum, R; Hornyak, Valerie A

    2006-01-01

    The lumbering locomotor behaviours of tuataras and salamanders are the best examples of quadrupedal locomotion of early terrestrial vertebrates. We show they use the same walking (out-of-phase) and running (in-phase) patterns of external mechanical energy fluctuations of the centre-of-mass known in fast moving (cursorial) animals. Thus, walking and running centre-of-mass mechanics have been a feature of tetrapods since quadrupedal locomotion emerged over 400 million years ago. When walking, these sprawling animals save external mechanical energy with the same pendular effectiveness observed in cursorial animals. However, unlike cursorial animals (that change footfall patterns and mechanics with speed), tuataras and salamanders use only diagonal couplet gaits and indifferently change from walking to running mechanics with no significant change in total mechanical energy. Thus, the change from walking to running is not related to speed and the advantage of walking versus running is unclear. Furthermore, lumbering mechanics in primitive tetrapods is reflected in having total mechanical energy driven by potential energy (rather than kinetic energy as in cursorial animals) and relative centre-of-mass displacements an order of magnitude greater than cursorial animals. Thus, large vertical displacements associated with lumbering locomotion in primitive tetrapods may preclude their ability to increase speed. PMID:16777753

  7. Purification and characterization of cholecystokinin from the skin of salamander Tylototriton verrucosus.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Wen-Bin; Hakim, Ma; Luo, Lei; Li, Bo-Wen; Yang, Shi-Long; Song, Yu-Zhu; Lai, Ren; Lu, Qiu-Min

    2015-05-18

    As a group of intestinal hormones and neurotransmitters, cholecystokinins (CCKs) regulate and affect pancreatic enzyme secretion, gastrointestinal motility, pain hypersensitivity, digestion and satiety, and generally contain a DYMGWMDFG sequence at the C-terminus. Many CCKs have been reported in mammals. However, only a few have been reported in amphibians, such as Hyla nigrovittata, Xenopus laevis, and Rana catesbeiana, with none reported in urodele amphibians like newts and salamanders. Here, a CCK called CCK-TV was identified and characterized from the skin of the salamander Tylototriton verrucosus. This CCK contained an amino acid sequence of DYMGWMDF-NH2 as seen in other CCKs. A cDNA encoding the CCK precursor containing 129 amino acid residues was cloned from the cDNA library of T. verrucosus skin. The CCK-TV had the potential to induce the contraction of smooth muscle strips isolated from porcine gallbladder, eliciting contraction at a concentration of 5.0 x 10⁻¹¹ mol/L and inducing maximal contraction at a concentration of 2.0 x 10⁻⁶ mol/L. The EC50 was 13.6 nmol/L. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to identify the presence of a CCK in an urodele amphibian. PMID:26018861

  8. Spatial genetic structure and regional demography in the southern torrent salamander: Implications for conservation and management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Wagner, R.S.

    2006-01-01

    The Southern torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) was recently found not warranted for listing under the US Endangered Species Act due to lack of information regarding population fragmentation and gene flow. Found in small-order streams associated with late-successional coniferous forests of the US Pacific Northwest, threats to their persistence include disturbance related to timber harvest activities. We conducted a study of genetic diversity throughout this species' range to 1) identify major phylogenetic lineages and phylogeographic barriers and 2) elucidate regional patterns of population genetic and spatial phylogeographic structure. Cytochrome b sequence variation was examined for 189 individuals from 72 localities. We identified 3 major lineages corresponding to nonoverlapping geographic regions: a northern California clade, a central Oregon clade, and a northern Oregon clade. The Yaquina River may be a phylogeographic barrier between the northern Oregon and central Oregon clades, whereas the Smith River in northern California appears to correspond to the discontinuity between the central Oregon and northern California clades. Spatial analyses of genetic variation within regions encompassing major clades indicated that the extent of genetic structure is comparable among regions. We discuss our results in the context of conservation efforts for Southern torrent salamanders.

  9. Phylogeography and spatial genetic structure of the Southern torrent salamander: Implications for conservation and management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, M.P.; Haig, S.M.; Wagner, R.S.

    2006-01-01

    The Southern torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) was recently found not warranted for listing under the US Endangered Species Act due to lack of information regarding population fragmentation and gene flow. Found in small-order streams associated with late-successional coniferous forests of the US Pacific Northwest, threats to their persistence include disturbance related to timber harvest activities. We conducted a study of genetic diversity throughout this species' range to 1) identify major phylogenetic lineages and phylogeographic barriers and 2) elucidate regional patterns of population genetic and spatial phylogeographic structure. Cytochrome b sequence variation was examined for 189 individuals from 72 localities. We identified 3 major lineages corresponding to nonoverlapping geographic regions: a northern California clade, a central Oregon clade, and a northern Oregon clade. The Yaquina River may be a phylogeographic barrier between the northern Oregon and central Oregon clades, whereas the Smith River in northern California appears to correspond to the discontinuity between the central Oregon and northern California clades. Spatial analyses of genetic variation within regions encompassing major clades indicated that the extent of genetic structure is comparable among regions. We discuss our results in the context of conservation efforts for Southern torrent salamanders. ?? The American Genetic Association. 2006. All rights reserved.

  10. Mitochondrial Dynamics and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Diabetes.

    PubMed

    Wada, Jun; Nakatsuka, Atsuko

    2016-06-01

    The mitochondria are involved in active and dynamic processes, such as mitochondrial biogenesis, fission, fusion and mitophagy to maintain mitochondrial and cellular functions. In obesity and type 2 diabetes, impaired oxidation, reduced mitochondrial contents, lowered rates of oxidative phosphorylation and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production have been reported. Mitochondrial biogenesis is regulated by various transcription factors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), estrogen-related receptors (ERRs), and nuclear respiratory factors (NRFs). Mitochondrial fusion is promoted by mitofusin 1 (MFN1), mitofusin 2 (MFN2) and optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), while fission is governed by the recruitment of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) by adaptor proteins such as mitochondrial fission factor (MFF), mitochondrial dynamics proteins of 49 and 51 kDa (MiD49 and MiD51), and fission 1 (FIS1). Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) and PARKIN promote DRP1-dependent mitochondrial fission, and the outer mitochondrial adaptor MiD51 is required in DRP1 recruitment and PARKIN-dependent mitophagy. This review describes the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial dynamics, its abnormality in diabetes and obesity, and pharmaceuticals targeting mitochondrial biogenesis, fission, fusion and mitophagy. PMID:27339203