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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

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

    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, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony 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 (Bayesian posterior probability >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 of four major groups is rejected. Reanalysis of current hypotheses in light of these evolutionary relationships suggests that (i) a larval life history stage reevolved from a direct-developing ancestor multiple times; (ii) there is no phylogenetic support for the “Out of Appalachia” hypothesis of plethodontid origins; and (iii) 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 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. PMID:15365171

  4. 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.

  5. Maintaining plethodontid salamanders in the laboratory for regeneration studies.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Claudia Marcela; Gómez-Molina, Andrea; Delgado, Jean Paul

    2015-01-01

    Limb regeneration studies have been extensively carried out in species of Ambystomatidae and Salamandridae families. So far limited research has been conducted in species belonging to the Plethodontidae family, where some of the species differs from other salamander families due to their direct development, thus absence of a larval life. Here, we describe a protocol to maintain the plethodontid salamanders of genus Bolitoglossa species under laboratory conditions to perform regeneration studies.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Welsh, H.H.; 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.

  11. 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.

  12. LTR retrotransposons contribute to genomic gigantism in plethodontid salamanders.

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

    Kroll, Andrew J; Garcia, Tiffany S; Jones, Jay E; Dugger, Katie; Murden, Blake; Johnson, Josh; Peterman, Summer; 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

  16. Resistance to chytridiomycosis in European plethodontid salamanders of the genus Speleomantes.

    PubMed

    Pasmans, Frank; Van Rooij, Pascale; 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; Martel, An; Salvidio, Sebastiano

    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.

  17. Gender-dependent dimorphic teeth in four species of Mesoamerican plethodontid salamanders (Urodela, Amphibia).

    PubMed

    Ehmcke, Jens; Wistuba, Joachim; Clemen, Günter

    2004-06-01

    The tooth shapes of premaxillary and maxillary teeth of adults of four Mesoamerican salamander species (Urodela, Plethodontidae) were examined. Using scanning electron microscopy we determined whether the monocuspid teeth that are present only on the premaxillary of sexually mature males belong to the conical, unbladed, monocuspid tooth type found in urodele larvae or whether they represent morphological variations of the typical, bladed, bicuspid teeth of metamorphosed individuals. The teeth of some studied species are, in fact, unbladed and in some cases show one very reduced tip. But none of the studied teeth is per definitionem monocuspid and no tooth shows an enameloid layer between dentine shaft and enamel cap, which is always present in the teeth of early urodele larvae. The "monocuspid" teeth of adult males of Mesoamerican plethodontid salamanders have to be considered a morphological variation of the metamorphosed, bicuspid tooth type typical for metamorphosed urodeles.

  18. 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.

  19. The skull structure of six species of Mesoamerican plethodontid salamanders (Amphibia, Urodela).

    PubMed

    Ehmcke, Jens; Clemen, Günter

    2003-06-01

    The skulls of six species of plethodontid salamanders of the genus Bolitoglossa from Costa Rica and Panama, Bolitoglossa colonnea, B. dofleini, B. lignicolor, B. marmorea, B. schizodactyla and B. striatula are comparatively analysed. All species are terrestrial or slightly arboreal and show no life-mode-dependent skull characteristics. Heads cleared by transparent preparation and stained in toto were used for examination of the skull structure and paraffin sections of the gonads were prepared to confirm sexual maturity of each individual. Focussing on the size of the premaxillary pars dentalis, the degree of fusion of the processus dorsales praemaxillares and the presence or absence of the paired prefrontals we state that B. dofleini and B. striatula possess more ancestral characteristics, B. marmorea is situated in an intermediate position and B. colonnea, B. lignicolor and B. schizodactyla show more advanced characteristics.

  20. 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.

  1. Reduced effects of thyroid hormone on gene expression and metamorphosis in a paedomorphic plethodontid salamander.

    PubMed

    Aran, Robert P; Steffen, Michael A; Martin, Samuel D; Lopez, Olivia I; Bonett, Ronald M

    2014-07-01

    It has been over a century since Gudernatsch (1912, Wilhelm Roux Arch Entwickl Mech Org 35:457-483) demonstrated that mammalian thyroid gland extracts can stimulate tadpole metamorphosis. Despite the tremendous developmental diversity of amphibians, mechanisms of metamorphosis have mostly been studied in a few model systems. This limits our understanding of the processes that influence the evolution of developmental aberrations. Here we isolated thyroid hormone receptors alpha (TRα) and beta (TRβ) from Oklahoma salamanders (Eurycea tynerensis), which exhibit permanently aquatic (paedomorphic) or biphasic (metamorphic) developmental modes in different populations. We found that TRα and TRβ were upregulated by thyroid hormone (T3 ) in tail tissues of larvae from metamorphic populations, but basal levels of TR expression and T3 responsiveness were reduced in larvae from paedomorphic populations. Likewise, we found that T3 treatment resulted in complete loss of larval epibranchials in larvae from metamorphic populations, but little to no epibranchial remodeling occurred in larvae from paedomorphic populations over the same duration. This is the first study to directly demonstrate reduced gene expression and metamorphic responses to T3 in a paedomorphic plethodontid compared to metamorphic conspecifics, and the first salamander system to show differential expression of thyroid hormone receptors associated with alternative developmental patterns.

  2. Evolution of paedomorphosis in plethodontid salamanders: ecological correlates and re-evolution of metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Bonett, Ronald M; Steffen, Michael A; Lambert, Shea M; Wiens, John J; Chippindale, Paul T

    2014-02-01

    Life-history modes can profoundly impact the biology of a species, and a classic example is the dichotomy between metamorphic (biphasic) and paedomorphic (permanently aquatic) life-history strategies in salamanders. However, despite centuries of research on this system, several basic questions about the evolution of paedomorphosis in salamanders have not been addressed. Here, we use a nearly comprehensive, time-calibrated phylogeny of spelerpine plethodontids to reconstruct the evolution of paedomorphosis and to test if paedomorphosis is (1) reversible; (2) associated with living in caves; (3) associated with relatively dry climatic conditions on the surface; and (4) correlated with limited range size and geographic dispersal. We find that paedomorphosis arose multiple times in spelerpines. We also find evidence for re-evolution of metamorphosis after several million years of paedomorphosis in a lineage of Eurycea from the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. We also show for the first time using phylogenetic comparative methods that paedomorphosis is highly correlated with cave-dwelling, arid surface environments, and small geographic range sizes, providing insights into both the causes and consequences of this major life history transition.

  3. Streambed microstructure predicts evolution of development and life history mode in the plethodontid salamander Eurycea tynerensis

    PubMed Central

    Bonett, Ronald M; Chippindale, Paul T

    2006-01-01

    Background Habitat variation strongly influences the evolution of developmentally flexible traits, and may drive speciation and diversification. The plethodontid salamander Eurycea tynerensis is endemic to the geologically diverse Ozark Plateau of south-central North America, and comprises both strictly aquatic paedomorphic populations (achieving reproductive maturity while remaining in the larval form) and more terrestrial metamorphic populations. The switch between developmental modes has occurred many times, but populations typically exhibit a single life history mode. This unique system offers an opportunity to study the specific ecological circumstances under which alternate developmental and life history modes evolve. We use phylogenetic independent contrasts to test for relationships between a key microhabitat feature (streambed sediment) and this major life history polymorphism. Results We find streambed microstructure (sediment particle size, type and degree of sorting) to be highly correlated with life-history mode. Eurycea tynerensis is paedomorphic in streams containing large chert gravel, but metamorphoses in nearby streams containing poorly sorted, clastic material such as sandstone or siltstone. Conclusion Deposits of large chert gravel create loosely associated streambeds, which provide access to subsurface water during dry summer months. Conversely, streambeds composed of more densely packed sandstone and siltstone sediments leave no subterranean refuge when surface water dries, presumably necessitating metamorphosis and use of terrestrial habitats. This represents a clear example of the relationship between microhabitat structure and evolution of a major developmental and life history trait, and has broad implications for the role of localized ecological conditions on larger-scale evolutionary processes. PMID:16512919

  4. Three new helminth species from two endemic plethodontid salamanders, Typhlomolge rathbuni and Eurycea nana, in central Texas.

    PubMed

    Moravec, F; Huffman, D G

    2000-01-01

    Helminthological examination of two rare, endemic species of plethodontid salamanders, the Texas blind salamander (Typhlomolge rathbuni Stejneger) and the San Marcos dwarf salamander (Eurycea nana Bishop), from the subterranean waters and springs in San Marcos, Hays County, central Texas, USA revealed the presence of three new, previously undescribed species of intestinal helminths: Brachycoelium longleyi sp. n. (Trematoda) from T. rathbuni (type host) and E. nana, Dendronucleata americana sp. n. (Acanthocephala) from T. rathbuni, and Amphibiocapillaria texensis sp. n. (Nematoda) from T. rathbuni; nematode larvae probably belonging to the last named species were recorded from E. nana. Brachycoelium longleyi can be distinguished from all congeners primarily by its conspicuously small eggs among other features, whereas A. texensis differs from its closest congeneric species A. tritonispiunctati mainly in the structure of mature eggs and a markedly shorter spicule. Dendronucleata americana is the first species of the family Dendronucleatidae from the New World, differing from its Asian congeners mainly in the number and arrangement of proboscis hooks, number of giant hypodermic nuclei and in the position of testes.

  5. 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.

  6. Bayesian salamanders: analysing the demography of an underground population of the European plethodontid Speleomantes strinatii with state-space modelling

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background It has been suggested that Plethodontid salamanders are excellent candidates for indicating ecosystem health. However, detailed, long-term data sets of their populations are rare, limiting our understanding of the demographic processes underlying their population fluctuations. Here we present a demographic analysis based on a 1996 - 2008 data set on an underground population of Speleomantes strinatii (Aellen) in NW Italy. We utilised a Bayesian state-space approach allowing us to parameterise a stage-structured Lefkovitch model. We used all the available population data from annual temporary removal experiments to provide us with the baseline data on the numbers of juveniles, subadults and adult males and females present at any given time. Results Sampling the posterior chains of the converged state-space model gives us the likelihood distributions of the state-specific demographic rates and the associated uncertainty of these estimates. Analysing the resulting parameterised Lefkovitch matrices shows that the population growth is very close to 1, and that at population equilibrium we expect half of the individuals present to be adults of reproductive age which is what we also observe in the data. Elasticity analysis shows that adult survival is the key determinant for population growth. Conclusion This analysis demonstrates how an understanding of population demography can be gained from structured population data even in a case where following marked individuals over their whole lifespan is not practical. PMID:20122249

  7. Potential rapid evolution of foot morphology in Italian plethodontid salamanders (Hydromantes strinatii) following the colonization of an artificial cave.

    PubMed

    Salvidio, S; Crovetto, F; Adams, D C

    2015-07-01

    How organisms respond to environmental change is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. Species invading novel habitats provide an opportunity to examine contemporary evolution in action and decipher the pace of evolutionary change over short timescales. Here, we characterized phenotypic evolution in the Italian plethodontid salamander, Hydromantes strinatii, following the recent colonization of an artificial cave by a forest floor population. When compared with a nearby and genetically related population in the natural forest floor and a nearby cave population, the artificial cave population displayed significant differences in overall foot shape, with more interdigital webbing relative to the other populations. Further, this population evolved significantly larger feet, which corresponded more closely to those found in other cave populations than to forest floor populations to which the cave population is closely related. Finally, we quantified the rate of evolution for both foot shape and foot area, and found that both traits displayed large and significant evolutionary rates, at levels corresponding to other classic cases of rapid evolution in vertebrates. Together, these findings reveal that the response to novel environmental pressures can be large and rapid and that the anatomical shifts observed in the artificial cave population of H. strinatii may represent a case of rapid evolution in response to novel environmental pressures.

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

    PubMed

    Milanovich, Joseph R; Hopton, Matthew E

    2014-11-01

    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 influence the stoichiometry of a consumer are largely unstudied, but what is known is that consumer stoichiometry is influenced by the elemental requirements of the consumer (e.g. for growth, reproduction and cell maintenance) and the availability of elements. We examined whole-body stoichiometry of larval southern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea cirrigera) and described the influence of location, body size, stoichiometry of diet items, and environmental nutrient supply on whole-body stoichiometry. Mean composition of phosphorous was 2.6%, nitrogen was 11.3%, and carbon was 39.6%, which are similar for other aquatic vertebrate taxa. The most significant predictor of whole-body stoichiometry was the site where the samples were collected, which was significant for each nutrient and nutrient ratio. Body size and stoichiometry of diet items were also predictors of Eurycea cirrigera stoichiometry. Our study suggests that spatial differences in environmental nutrient supply have a stronger influence on consumer whole-body stoichiometry among similar-sized larvae compared to life history traits, such as body size or diet.

  9. Low metabolic rates in salamanders are correlated with weak selective constraints on mitochondrial genes.

    PubMed

    Chong, Rebecca A; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2013-03-01

    Mitochondria are the site for the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), the final steps of ATP synthesis via cellular respiration. Each mitochondrion contains its own genome; in vertebrates, this is a small, circular DNA molecule that encodes 13 subunits of the multiprotein OXPHOS electron transport complexes. Vertebrate lineages vary dramatically in metabolic rates; thus, functional constraints on mitochondrial-encoded proteins likely differ, potentially impacting mitochondrial genome evolution. Here, we examine mitochondrial genome evolution in salamanders, which have the lowest metabolic requirements among tetrapods. We show that salamanders experience weaker purifying selection on protein-coding sequences than do frogs, a comparable amphibian clade with higher metabolic rates. In contrast, we find no evidence for weaker selection against mitochondrial genome expansion in salamanders. Together, these results suggest that different aspects of mitochondrial genome evolution (i.e., nucleotide substitution, accumulation of noncoding sequences) are differently affected by metabolic variation across tetrapod lineages.

  10. Larval masquerade: a new species of paedomorphic salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Eurycea) from the Ouachita Mountains of North America.

    PubMed

    Steffen, Michael A; Irwin, Kelly J; Blair, Andrea L; Bonett, Ronald M

    2014-04-11

    Species with truncated developmental patterns may go undetected if they resemble the juveniles of their close relatives. Herein we present an example of this phenomenon with the description of a highly divergent, relict species of stream-dwelling plethodontid salamander from the Ouachita Mountains of North America. Both mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data show that this new species is most closely related to its syntopic relative, Eurycea multiplicata. Interestingly, E. multiplicata exhibits the ancestral biphasic (metamorphic) life cycle, whereas the new species maintains an aquatic larval form throughout life (paedomorphic) and superficially resembles larval E. multiplicata. The new species is the first known paedomorphic plethodontid from the Ouachita Mountains, and the most divergent paedomorphic salamander discovered in over seventy years. This species represents an independent instance of the evolution of paedomorphosis associated with a porous streambed, which may facilitate vertical seasonal movements. This new species currently has an extremely limited known distribution and is of immediate conservation concern.

  11. Higher-level salamander relationships and divergence dates inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Peng; Wake, David B

    2009-11-01

    Phylogenetic relationships among the salamander families have been difficult to resolve, largely because the window of time in which major lineages diverged was very short relative to the subsequently long evolutionary history of each family. We present seven new complete mitochondrial genomes representing five salamander families that have no or few mitogenome records in GenBank in order to assess the phylogenetic relationships of all salamander families from a mitogenomic perspective. Phylogenetic analyses of two data sets-one combining the entire mitogenome sequence except for the D-loop, and the other combining the deduced amino acid sequences of all 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes-produce nearly identical well-resolved topologies. The monophyly of each family is supported, including the controversial Proteidae. The internally fertilizing salamanders are demonstrated to be a clade, concordant with recent results using nuclear genes. The internally fertilizing salamanders include two well-supported clades: one is composed of Ambystomatidae, Dicamptodontidae, and Salamandridae, the other Proteidae, Rhyacotritonidae, Amphiumidae, and Plethodontidae. In contrast to results from nuclear loci, our results support the conventional morphological hypothesis that Sirenidae is the sister-group to all other salamanders and they statistically reject the hypothesis from nuclear genes that the suborder Cryptobranchoidea (Cryptobranchidae+Hynobiidae) branched earlier than the Sirenidae. Using recently recommended fossil calibration points and a "soft bound" calibration strategy, we recalculated evolutionary timescales for tetrapods with an emphasis on living salamanders, under a Bayesian framework with and without a rate-autocorrelation assumption. Our dating results indicate: (i) the widely used rate-autocorrelation assumption in relaxed clock analyses is problematic and the accuracy of molecular dating for early lissamphibian evolution is questionable; (ii) the initial

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Evolution Along the Mutation Gradient in the Dynamic Mitochondrial Genome of Salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Chong, Rebecca A.; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2013-01-01

    Mitochondria are intracellular organelles where oxidative phosphorylation is carried out to complete ATP synthesis. Mitochondria have their own genome; in metazoans, this is a small, circular molecule encoding 13 electron transport proteins, 22 tRNAs, and 2 rRNAs. In invertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is common, and it is correlated with increased substitution rates. In vertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is rare, and its relationship to substitution rate remains unexplored. Mitochondrial genes can also show spatial variation in substitution rates around the genome due to the mechanism of mtDNA replication, which produces a mutation gradient. To date, however, the strength of the mutation gradient and whether movement along the gradient in rearranged (or otherwise modified) genomes impacts genic substitution rates remain unexplored in the majority of vertebrates. Salamanders include both normal mitochondrial genomes and independently derived rearrangements and expansions, providing a rare opportunity to test the effects of large-scale changes to genome architecture on vertebrate mitochondrial gene sequence evolution. We show that: 1) rearranged/expanded genomes have higher substitution rates; 2) most genes in rearranged/expanded genomes maintain their position along the mutation gradient, substitution rates of the genes that do move are unaffected by their new position, and the gradient in salamanders is weak; and 3) genomic rearrangements/expansions occur independent of levels of selective constraint on genes. Together, our results demonstrate that large-scale changes to genome architecture impact mitochondrial gene evolution in predictable ways; however, despite these impacts, the same functional constraints act on mitochondrial protein-coding genes in both modified and normal genomes. PMID:23918809

  15. Evolution along the mutation gradient in the dynamic mitochondrial genome of salamanders.

    PubMed

    Chong, Rebecca A; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2013-01-01

    Mitochondria are intracellular organelles where oxidative phosphorylation is carried out to complete ATP synthesis. Mitochondria have their own genome; in metazoans, this is a small, circular molecule encoding 13 electron transport proteins, 22 tRNAs, and 2 rRNAs. In invertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is common, and it is correlated with increased substitution rates. In vertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is rare, and its relationship to substitution rate remains unexplored. Mitochondrial genes can also show spatial variation in substitution rates around the genome due to the mechanism of mtDNA replication, which produces a mutation gradient. To date, however, the strength of the mutation gradient and whether movement along the gradient in rearranged (or otherwise modified) genomes impacts genic substitution rates remain unexplored in the majority of vertebrates. Salamanders include both normal mitochondrial genomes and independently derived rearrangements and expansions, providing a rare opportunity to test the effects of large-scale changes to genome architecture on vertebrate mitochondrial gene sequence evolution. We show that: 1) rearranged/expanded genomes have higher substitution rates; 2) most genes in rearranged/expanded genomes maintain their position along the mutation gradient, substitution rates of the genes that do move are unaffected by their new position, and the gradient in salamanders is weak; and 3) genomic rearrangements/expansions occur independent of levels of selective constraint on genes. Together, our results demonstrate that large-scale changes to genome architecture impact mitochondrial gene evolution in predictable ways; however, despite these impacts, the same functional constraints act on mitochondrial protein-coding genes in both modified and normal genomes.

  16. 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.

  17. Mitochondrial cytochrome B phylogeny and historical biogeography of the Tohoku salamander, Hynobius lichenatus (Amphibia, Caudata).

    PubMed

    Aoki, Gen; Matsui, Masafumi; Nishikawa, Kanto

    2013-03-01

    The Tohoku salamander, Hynobius lichenatus Boulenger, 1883, is a lentic breeding species widespread throughout montane regions of northeastern Japan. To explore intraspecific genetic variation and infer evolutionary history of H. lichenatus, we performed mitochondrial DNA analysis (complete 1141 bp sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene) using 215 adult and larval individuals collected from 75 localities, encompassing known distributional range of the species. Hynobius lichenatus proved to be monophyletic, including three well-supported and geographically structured clades (Clade I from northern Kanto, Clade II from southern Tohoku, and Clade III from northern Tohoku). These clades, respectively, comprise several subclades, and show genetic distances as large as those seen between different species of Hynobius. Results of population statistic analyses indicate that all clades and most subclades have maintained high genetic diversity and demographic stability over long periods. Molecular dating indicates divergence in H. lichenatus concords with topographic evolution of northeastern Japan from late Miocene to early Pleistocene, suggesting that paleogeographic events in this region, such as orogenesis, sea level change, and volcanic activity, have been crucial for shaping genetic patterns and diversity in this species. Hynobius lichenatus greatly differs from many other animal species from northeastern Japan in its much older periods and the pattern of genetic differentiation, and is suggested as an old faunal element in this region.

  18. Experimental infection of native north Carolina salamanders with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

    PubMed

    Chinnadurai, Sathya K; Cooper, David; Dombrowski, Daniel S; Poore, Matthew F; Levy, Michael G

    2009-07-01

    Chytridiomycosis is an often fatal fungal disease of amphibians caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. This disease has been implicated in the worldwide decline of many anuran species, but studies of chytridiomycosis in wild salamanders are limited. Between August 2006 and December 2006, we tested wild amphibians in North Carolina, USA (n=212) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We identified three PCR-positive animals: one Rana clamitans and two Plethodontid salamanders. We experimentally infected two species of native North Carolina Plethodontid salamanders, the slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) and the Blue Ridge Mountain dusky salamander (Desmognathus orestes) with 1,000,000 zoospores of B. dendrobatidis per animal. Susceptibility was species dependent; all slimy salamanders developed clinical signs of chytridiomycosis, and one died, whereas dusky salamanders remained unaffected. In a second experiment, we challenged naïve slimy salamanders with either 10,000 or 100,000 motile zoospores per animal. Clinical signs consistent with chytridiomycosis were not observed at either dose or in uninfected controls during the 45 days of this experiment. All animals inoculated with B. dendrobatidis in both experiments, regardless of dose, tested positive by PCR. Our study indicates that slimy salamanders are more susceptible to clinical chytridiomycosis than dusky salamanders, and in a laboratory setting, a dose greater than 100,000 zoospores per animal is required to induce clinical disease. This study also indicates that PCR is a very sensitive tool for detecting B. dendrobatidis infection, even in animals that are clinically unaffected, thus positive results should be interpreted with caution.

  19. Ecological radiation with limited morphological diversification in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Blankers, Thomas; Adams, D C; Wiens, J J

    2012-04-01

    A major goal of evolutionary biology is to explain morphological diversity among species. Many studies suggest that much morphological variation is explained by adaptation to different microhabitats. Here, we test whether morphology and microhabitat use are related in plethodontid salamanders, which contain the majority of salamander species, and have radiated into a striking diversity of microhabitats. We obtained microhabitat data for 189 species that also had both morphometric and phylogenetic data. We then tested for associations between morphology and microhabitat categories using phylogenetic comparative methods. Associations between morphology and ecology in plethodontids are largely confined to a single clade within one subfamily (Bolitoglossinae), whereas variation in morphology across other plethodontids is unrelated to microhabitat categories. These results demonstrate that ecological radiation and morphological evolution can be largely decoupled in a major clade. The results also offer a striking contrast to lizards, which typically show close relationships between morphology and microhabitat.

  20. Detecting cryptic species in phylogeographic studies: speciation in the California Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps attenuatus.

    PubMed

    Highton, Richard

    2014-02-01

    A study of DNA sequence variation in the plethodontid salamander Batrachoseps attenuatus by Martínez-Solano et al. (2007) revealed more species than acknowledged by the authors. They sequenced 677 base pairs of the cytochrome-b mitochondrial gene in 178 individuals from 123 populations of the currently recognized species B. attenuatus from throughout most of its known range in southwestern Oregon and northern and central California. Their data show that the common ancestor of the species diverged into five clades during the late Miocene Epoch, an estimated 9.2-5.5 mya, with subsequent divergences producing at least 39 living lineages that replace each other geographically. These groups have been diverging independently from each other throughout the Pleistocene Epoch and many of them have probably reached the species level of divergence.

  1. 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.

  2. Convergent evolutionary reduction of atrial septation in lungless salamanders.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Zachary R; Hanken, James

    2017-01-01

    Nearly two thirds of the approximately 700 species of living salamanders are lungless. These species respire entirely through the skin and buccopharyngeal mucosa. Lung loss dramatically impacts the configuration of the circulatory system but the effects of evolutionary lung loss on cardiac morphology have long been controversial. For example, there is presumably little need for an atrial septum in lungless salamanders due to the absence of pulmonary veins and the presence of a single source of mixed blood flowing into the heart, but whether lungless salamanders possess an atrial septum and whether the sinoatrial aperture is located in the left or right atrium are unresolved; authors have stated opposing claims since the late 1800s. Here, we use micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) imaging, gross dissection and histological reconstruction to compare cardiac morphology among lungless plethodontid salamanders (Plethodontidae), salamanders with lungs, and the convergently lungless species Onychodactylus japonicus (Hynobiidae). Plethodontid salamanders have partial atrial septa and incomplete separation of the atrium into left and right halves. Partial septation is also seen in O. japonicus. Hence, lungless salamanders from two lineages convergently evolved similar morphology of the atrial septum. The partial septum in lungless salamanders can make it appear that the sinoatrial aperture is in the left atrium, but this interpretation is incorrect. Outgroup comparisons demonstrate that the aperture is located in a posterodorsal extension of the right atrium into the left side of the heart. Independent evolutionary losses of the atrial septum may have a similar developmental basis. In mammals, the lungs induce formation of the atrial septum by secreting morphogens to neighboring mesenchyme. We hypothesize that the lungs induce atrial septum development in amphibians in a similar fashion to mammals, and that atrial septum reduction in lungless salamanders is a direct result

  3. 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.

  4. Hellbender genome sequences shed light on genomic expansion at the base of crown salamanders.

    PubMed

    Sun, Cheng; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2014-07-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Estimating occurrence and detection probabilities for stream-breeding salamanders in the Gulf Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lamb, Jennifer Y.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Qualls, Carl P.

    2017-01-01

    Large gaps exist in our knowledge of the ecology of stream-breeding plethodontid salamanders in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Data describing where these salamanders are likely to occur along environmental gradients, as well as their likelihood of detection, are important for the prevention and management of amphibian declines. We used presence/absence data from leaf litter bag surveys and a hierarchical Bayesian multispecies single-season occupancy model to estimate the occurrence of five species of plethodontids across reaches in headwater streams in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Average detection probabilities were high (range = 0.432–0.942) and unaffected by sampling covariates specific to the use of litter bags (i.e., bag submergence, sampling season, in-stream cover). Estimates of occurrence probabilities differed substantially between species (range = 0.092–0.703) and were influenced by the size of the upstream drainage area and by the maximum proportion of the reach that dried. The effects of these two factors were not equivalent across species. Our results demonstrate that hierarchical multispecies models successfully estimate occurrence parameters for both rare and common stream-breeding plethodontids. The resulting models clarify how species are distributed within stream networks, and they provide baseline values that will be useful in evaluating the conservation statuses of plethodontid species within lotic systems in the Gulf Coastal Plain.

  7. Salamander Saver

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ilseman, Kelly; Hoffmann, Kristine

    2016-01-01

    On a spring morning in Maine, traps made of nets rise above vernal pools in a small wetland, ready to collect salamanders. The traps were designed by groups of rural and urban high school students from Maine and Massachusetts participating in the University of Maine Upward Bound Math Science Program (UBMS) at the university campus in Orono, Maine.…

  8. 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

  9. Context-dependent movement behavior of woodland salamanders (Plethodon) in two habitat types.

    PubMed

    Connette, Grant M; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2013-12-01

    Animal movement is critical to the maintenance of functional connectivity at the landscape scale and can play a key role in population persistence and metapopulation dynamics. The permeability of habitat to animal movement may vary as a result of either differential mortality, physical resistance, or simply the behavioral responses of organisms to perceived habitat quality. Understanding how and when animal movement behavior varies among habitat types is critical for identifying barriers to dispersal and predicting species distributions in relation to landscape features. We conducted an experimental translocation study and compared the movement success and behavioral strategies of plethodontid salamanders in both forest and open-canopy habitat. We found that individuals in closed-canopy forest oriented more strongly towards their home ranges and moved significantly farther on their release night. In spite of the clear differences in movement paths, the ultimate movement success of homing salamanders did not appear to vary with habitat type. Our study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting the importance of recognizing the context dependence of animal movement behavior. Because the movement rates of displaced salamanders were significantly reduced in open-canopy, dispersal rates of plethodontid salamanders in open-canopy habitat are likely lower than in control forest. Further mechanistic studies focusing on habitat-specific movement behavior and survival costs will be valuable for effectively identifying and mitigating barriers to animal movement.

  10. 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

  11. What are the consequences of combining nuclear and mitochondrial data for phylogenetic analysis? Lessons from Plethodon salamanders and 13 other vertebrate clades

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The use of mitochondrial DNA data in phylogenetics is controversial, yet studies that combine mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data (mtDNA and nucDNA) to estimate phylogeny are common, especially in vertebrates. Surprisingly, the consequences of combining these data types are largely unexplored, and many fundamental questions remain unaddressed in the literature. For example, how much do trees from mtDNA and nucDNA differ? How are topological conflicts between these data types typically resolved in the combined-data tree? What determines whether a node will be resolved in favor of mtDNA or nucDNA, and are there any generalities that can be made regarding resolution of mtDNA-nucDNA conflicts in combined-data trees? Here, we address these and related questions using new and published nucDNA and mtDNA data for Plethodon salamanders and published data from 13 other vertebrate clades (including fish, frogs, lizards, birds, turtles, and mammals). Results We find widespread discordance between trees from mtDNA and nucDNA (30-70% of nodes disagree per clade), but this discordance is typically not strongly supported. Despite often having larger numbers of variable characters, mtDNA data do not typically dominate combined-data analyses, and combined-data trees often share more nodes with trees from nucDNA alone. There is no relationship between the proportion of nodes shared between combined-data and mtDNA trees and relative numbers of variable characters or levels of homoplasy in the mtDNA and nucDNA data sets. Congruence between trees from mtDNA and nucDNA is higher on branches that are longer and deeper in the combined-data tree, but whether a conflicting node will be resolved in favor mtDNA or nucDNA is unrelated to branch length. Conflicts that are resolved in favor of nucDNA tend to occur at deeper nodes in the combined-data tree. In contrast to these overall trends, we find that Plethodon have an unusually large number of strongly supported conflicts between

  12. Dramatic declines in neotropical salamander populations are an important part of the global amphibian crisis

    PubMed Central

    Rovito, Sean M.; Parra-Olea, Gabriela; Vásquez-Almazán, Carlos R.; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Wake, David B.

    2009-01-01

    We document major declines of many species of salamanders at several sites in Central America and Mexico, with emphasis on the San Marcos region of Guatemala, one of the best studied and most diverse salamander communities in the Neotropics. Profound declines of several formerly abundant species, including 2 apparent extinctions, are revealed. Terrestrial microhabitat specialists at mid- to high elevations have declined more than microhabitat generalists. These terrestrial microhabitat specialists have largely disappeared from multiple sites in western Guatemala, including in well-protected areas, suggesting that the phenomenon cannot be explained solely by localized habitat destruction. Major declines in southern Mexican plethodontid salamanders occurred in the late 1970s to early 1980s, concurrent with or preceding many reported frog declines. The species in decline comprise several major evolutionary lineages of tropical salamanders, underscoring that significant portions of the phylogenetic diversity of Neotropical salamanders are at risk. Our results highlight the urgent need to document and understand Neotropical salamander declines as part of the larger effort to conserve global amphibian diversity. PMID:19204286

  13. New species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton) from Quebrada Cataguana, Francisco Morazán, Honduras, with comments on the taxonomic status of Cryptotriton wakei.

    PubMed

    Mccranie, James R; Rovito, Sean M

    2014-05-09

    We describe a new species of the plethodontid salamander genus Cryptotriton from Honduras after comparing morphological, molecular, and osteological data from the holotype to that of the other nominal forms of the genus. The new species differs from all of the known species of Cryptotriton in at least one character from all three datasets. We also suggest placing C. wakei in the synonymy of C. nasalis after examining the morphological and osteological characters of the single known specimen of C. wakei.

  14. 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.

  15. Ancestry of unisexual salamanders.

    PubMed

    Hedges, S B; Bogart, J P; Maxson, L R

    1992-04-23

    In eastern North America there are populations of all-female salamanders that incorporate the nuclear genomes of two or three of four sympatric bisexual species. The hybrids can be diploid, triploid, tetraploid or pentaploid, and 18 different combinations have been reported. All hybrids require sperm from a sympatric male of one of the bisexual species to reproduce, but the sperm may or may not be incorporated in the egg. Some of the hybrids are believed to represent separate, clonal species, but little is known of the origin of this hybrid complex. Vertebrate mitochondrial DNA is inherited maternally, allowing identification of the female parent that gave rise to hybrid lineages. A portion of the cytochrome b gene was sequenced from diploid and triploid hybrids that represent combinations of all four species. Nearly all hybrids had a similar mitochondrial genome sequence, independent of nuclear genome composition and ploidy, and the sequence was distinct from that of any of the four bisexual species. The hybrids maintain a mitochondrial lineage that has evolved independently of their nuclear genome and represent the most ancient known unisexual vertebrate lineage.

  16. Digits Lost or Gained? Evidence for Pedal Evolution in the Dwarf Salamander Complex (Eurycea, Plethodontidae)

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Change in digit number, particularly digit loss, has occurred repeatedly over the evolutionary history of tetrapods. Although digit loss has been documented among distantly related species of salamanders, it is relatively uncommon in this amphibian order. For example, reduction from five to four toes appears to have evolved just three times in the morphologically and ecologically diverse family Plethodontidae. Here we report a molecular phylogenetic analysis for one of these four-toed lineages – the Eurycea quadridigitata complex (dwarf salamanders) – emphasizing relationships to other species in the genus. A multilocus phylogeny reveals that dwarf salamanders are paraphyletic with respect to a complex of five-toed, paedomorphic Eurycea from the Edwards Plateau in Texas. We use this phylogeny to examine evolution of digit number within the dwarf−Edwards Plateau clade, testing contrasting hypotheses of digit loss (parallelism among dwarf salamanders) versus digit gain (re-evolution in the Edwards Plateau complex). Bayes factors analysis provides statistical support for a five-toed common ancestor at the dwarf-Edwards node, favoring, slightly, the parallelism hypothesis for digit loss. More importantly, our phylogenetic results pinpoint a rare event in the pedal evolution of plethodontid salamanders. PMID:22649536

  17. Decline of disjunct green salamander (Aneides aeneus) populations in the southern appalachians

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Corser, J.D.

    2001-01-01

    Coincident with other amphibians around the world Aneides aeneus, a terrestrial plethodontid salamander, suffered a population collapse in a disjunct portion of its range in the mid-late 1970s. Long-term monitoring of seven historical green salamander populations throughout the 1990s showed a 98% decline in relative abundance since 1970. Three out of six populations first discovered in 1991 also crashed in 1996-1997. The synchronized suddenness of the declines, their region-wide impact, and effects on both small and larger populations, suggest the role of a novel agent of mortality beginning in the mid-late 1970s. Acting alone, but more likely in concert, habitat loss, overcollecting, epidemic disease and climate change could account for this region-wide decline.

  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. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Embryonic staging table for a direct-developing salamander, Plethodon cinereus (Plethodontidae).

    PubMed

    Kerney, Ryan

    2011-11-01

    This work presents a refined staging table for the direct-developing red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus, which is based on the incomplete staging system of James Norman Dent (J Morphol 1942; 71:577-601). This common species from eastern North America is a member of the species-rich lungless salamander family Plethodontidae. The staging table presented here covers several stages omitted by Dent and reveals novel developmental features of P. cinereus embryos. These include putative Leydig cells and open gill clefts, which are found in larvae of metamorphosing species but were previously reported as absent in direct-developing Plethodon. Other features found in larvae of metamorphosing salamander species, such as the palatopterygoid bone and lateral line neuromasts, were not observed in this material. The occurrence of larval and metamorphic features in these embryos has direct bearing on the patterns of life history evolution within the plethodontidae family. This study emphasizes the degree to which typically larval structures are retained in this direct-developing species and provides a staging table for further investigations into the development and evolution of plethodontid salamanders.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Evolution of gigantism in amphiumid salamanders.

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-20

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Variation in mating systems of salamanders: mate guarding or territoriality?

    PubMed

    Deitloff, Jennifer; Alcorn, Michael A; Graham, Sean P

    2014-07-01

    Two of the most common mating tactics in vertebrates are mate guarding and territoriality, yet much of the research on these strategies has focused on mating systems in birds, despite novel insights gained from studying less traditional systems. North American stream salamanders that comprise the Eurycea bislineata complex represent an excellent nontraditional system for comparing mating strategies because these species exhibit a continuum of male morphologies, diverse habitat associations, and various potential mating strategies. We studied two species within this complex that exhibit the extremes of this continuum, Eurycea aquatica (robust morph) and Eurycea cirrigera (slender morph). The larger head in males of E. aquatica is due to larger musculature around the jaw and may be associated with aggressive behavior. Therefore, we hypothesized that the robust morphology exhibited by males of E. aquatica provides benefits during either territorial defense or mate defense and that males of E. cirrigera would not exhibit aggression in either scenario. We found that neither species exhibited aggressive behavior to defend a territory. However, in the presence of a female, males of E. aquatica were significantly more aggressive toward intruding males than were males of E. cirrigera. Therefore, mate-guarding behavior occurs in E. aquatica, and the enlarged head of males likely aids in deterring rivals. This is the first demonstration of mate-guarding behavior in a plethodontid, the most speciose family of salamanders.

  8. Histology and ultrastructure of the caudal courtship glands of the red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus (Amphibia: Plethodontidae).

    PubMed

    Sever, David M; Siegel, Dustin S

    2015-03-01

    Caudal courtship glands (CCGs) are sexually dimorphic glands described in the skin of the dorsal tail base of some male salamanders in the genera Desmognathus, Eurycea, and Plethodon in the family Plethodontidae. These glands are believed to deliver pheromones to females during courtship, when the female rests her chin on the dorsal tail base during the stereotypic tail straddling walk unique to plethodontids. Although CCGs have been studied histologically, no investigations of their ultrastructure have been made. This article presents the first study on the fine structure and seasonal variation of CCGs, using the plethodontid Plethodon cinereus. The CCGs vary seasonally in height and secretory activity. The mature secretory granules observed in males collected in October and April consist of oval, biphasic granules that are eosinophilic and give positive reactions to periodic acid-Schiff for neutral carbohydrates but do not stain for acidic mucosusbtances or proteins with alcian blue and bromphenol blue, respectively. Granular glands, some of which contain mucous demilunes, are twice as large as CCGs, are syncytial (unlike CCGs), and stain for proteins. Mucous glands are similar in size to CCGs, but are basophilic, show no seasonal variation in secretory activity, and stain positive for acidic mucosubstances. CCGs do not resemble cytologically the sexually dimorphic mental glands of some plethodontids, which contain round or oval granules filled with an electron-dense amorphous substance. The CCGs are similar histologically to sexually dimorphic skin glands described in some anurans, but more comparative work is needed.

  9. 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.

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. The dynamic evolutionary history of genome size in North American woodland salamanders.

    PubMed

    Newman, Catherine E; Gregory, T Ryan; Austin, Christopher C

    2017-04-01

    The genus Plethodon is the most species-rich salamander genus in North America, and nearly half of its species face an uncertain future. It is also one of the most diverse families in terms of genome sizes, which range from 1C = 18.2 to 69.3 pg, or 5-20 times larger than the human genome. Large genome size in salamanders results in part from accumulation of transposable elements and is associated with various developmental and physiological traits. However, genome sizes have been reported for only 25% of the species of Plethodon (14 of 55). We collected genome size data for Plethodon serratus to supplement an ongoing phylogeographic study, reconstructed the evolutionary history of genome size in Plethodontidae, and inferred probable genome sizes for the 41 species missing empirical data. Results revealed multiple genome size changes in Plethodon: genomes of western Plethodon increased, whereas genomes of eastern Plethodon decreased, followed by additional decreases or subsequent increases. The estimated genome size of P. serratus was 21 pg. New understanding of variation in genome size evolution, along with genome size inferences for previously unstudied taxa, provide a foundation for future studies on the biology of plethodontid salamanders.

  12. Potential reduction in terrestrial salamander ranges associated with Marcellus shale development

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brand, Adrianne; Wiewel, Amber N. M.; Grant, Evan H. Campbell

    2014-01-01

    Natural gas production from the Marcellus shale is rapidly increasing in the northeastern United States. Most of the endemic terrestrial salamander species in the region are classified as ‘globally secure’ by the IUCN, primarily because much of their ranges include state- and federally protected lands, which have been presumed to be free from habitat loss. However, the proposed and ongoing development of the Marcellus gas resources may result in significant range restrictions for these and other terrestrial forest salamanders. To begin to address the gaps in our knowledge of the direct impacts of shale gas development, we developed occurrence models for five species of terrestrial plethodontid salamanders found largely within the Marcellus shale play. We predicted future Marcellus shale development under several scenarios. Under scenarios of 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 new gas wells, we predict 4%, 8%, and 20% forest loss, respectively, within the play. Predictions of habitat loss vary among species, but in general, Plethodon electromorphus and Plethodonwehrlei are predicted to lose the greatest proportion of forested habitat within their ranges if future Marcellus development is based on characteristics of the shale play. If development is based on current well locations,Plethodonrichmondi is predicted to lose the greatest proportion of habitat. Models showed high uncertainty in species’ ranges and emphasize the need for distribution data collected by widespread and repeated, randomized surveys.

  13. Unexpected rarity of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Appalachian Plethodon Salamanders: 1957-2011.

    PubMed

    Muletz, Carly; Caruso, Nicholas M; Fleischer, Robert C; McDiarmid, Roy W; Lips, Karen R

    2014-01-01

    Widespread population declines in terrestrial Plethodon salamanders occurred by the 1980s throughout the Appalachian Mountains, the center of global salamander diversity, with no evident recovery. We tested the hypothesis that the historic introduction and spread of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) into the eastern US was followed by Plethodon population declines. We expected to detect elevated prevalence of Bd prior to population declines as observed for Central American plethodontids. We tested 1,498 Plethodon salamanders of 12 species (892 museum specimens, 606 wild individuals) for the presence of Bd, and tested 94 of those for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bs) and for ranavirus. Field samples were collected in 2011 from 48 field sites across a 767 km transect. Historic samples from museum specimens were collected at five sites with the greatest number and longest duration of collection (1957-987), four of which were sampled in the field in 2011. None of the museum specimens were positive for Bd, but four P. cinereus from field surveys were positive. The overall Bd prevalence from 1957-2011 for 12 Plethodon species sampled across a 757 km transect was 0.2% (95% CI 0.1-0.7%). All 94 samples were negative for Bs and ranavirus. We conclude that known amphibian pathogens are unlikely causes for declines in these Plethodon populations. Furthermore, these exceptionally low levels of Bd, in a region known to harbor Bd, may indicate that Plethodon specific traits limit Bd infection.

  14. Evolutionary cytogenetics in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Sessions, Stanley K

    2008-01-01

    Salamanders (Amphibia: Caudata/Urodela) have been the subject of numerous cytogenetic studies, and data on karyotypes and genome sizes are available for most groups. Salamanders show a more-or-less distinct dichotomy between families with large chromosome numbers and interspecific variation in chromosome number, relative size, and shape (i.e. position of the centromere), and those that exhibit very little variation in these karyological features. This dichotomy is the basis of a major model of karyotype evolution in salamanders involving a kind of 'karyotypic orthoselection'. Salamanders are also characterized by extremely large genomes (in terms of absolute mass of nuclear DNA) and extensive variation in genome size (and overall size of the chromosomes), which transcends variation in chromosome number and shape. The biological significance and evolution of chromosome number and shape within the karyotype is not yet understood, but genome size variation has been found to have strong phenotypic, biogeographic, and phylogenetic correlates that reveal information about the biological significance of this cytogenetic variable. Urodeles also present the advantage of only 10 families and less than 600 species, which facilitates the analysis of patterns within the entire order. The purpose of this review is to present a summary of what is currently known about overall patterns of variation in karyology and genome size in salamanders. These patterns are discussed within an evolutionary context.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Olfactory effects of a hypervariable multicomponent pheromone in the red-legged salamander, Plethodon shermani

    PubMed Central

    Doty, Kari A.; Chouinard, Adam J.; Eddy, Sarah L.; Woodley, Sarah K.; Houck, Lynne D.; Feldhoff, Richard C.

    2017-01-01

    Chemical communication via chemosensory signaling is an essential process for promoting and modifying reproductive behavior in many species. During courtship in plethodontid salamanders, males deliver a mixture of non-volatile proteinaceous pheromones that activate chemosensory neurons in the vomeronasal epithelium (VNE) and increase female receptivity. One component of this mixture, Plethodontid Modulating Factor (PMF), is a hypervariable pheromone expressed as more than 30 unique isoforms that differ between individual males—likely driven by co-evolution with female receptors to promote gene duplication and positive selection of the PMF gene complex. Courtship trials with females receiving different PMF isoform mixtures had variable effects on female mating receptivity, with only the most complex mixtures increasing receptivity, such that we believe that sufficient isoform diversity allows males to improve their reproductive success with any female in the mating population. The aim of this study was to test the effects of isoform variability on VNE neuron activation using the agmatine uptake assay. All isoform mixtures activated a similar number of neurons (>200% over background) except for a single purified PMF isoform (+17%). These data further support the hypothesis that PMF isoforms act synergistically in order to regulate female receptivity, and different putative mechanisms are discussed. PMID:28358844

  18. Quantity discrimination in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Krusche, Paul; Uller, Claudia; Dicke, Ursula

    2010-06-01

    We investigated discrimination of large quantities in salamanders of the genus Plethodon. Animals were challenged with two different quantities (8 vs 12 or 8 vs 16) in a two-alternative choice task. Stimuli were live crickets, videos of live crickets or images animated by a computer program. Salamanders reliably chose the larger of two quantities when the ratio between the sets was 1:2 and stimuli were live crickets or videos thereof. Magnitude discrimination was not successful when the ratio was 2:3, or when the ratio was 1:2 when stimuli were computer animated. Analysis of the salamanders' success and failure as well as analysis of stimulus features points towards movement as a dominant feature for quantity discrimination. The results are generally consistent with large quantity discrimination investigated in many other animals (e.g. primates, fish), current models of quantity representation (analogue magnitudes) and data on sensory aspects of amphibian prey-catching behaviour (neuronal motion processing).

  19. [Selective processes and adaptive evolution of the cytochrome b gene in salamanders of the genus Salamandrella].

    PubMed

    Maliarchuk, B A

    2012-06-01

    Sequence analysis of the cytochrome b gene fragment in the salamanders of the genus Salamandrella, Siberian salamander and Schrenk salamander was performed with the purpose to elucidate the effect of natural selection on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in these species. It was demonstrated that despite of notable influence of negative selection (expressed as very low dN/dS values), speciation and intraspecific divergence in salamanders was accompanied by the appearance of radical amino acid substitutions, caused by the influence of positive (directional) selection. To examine the evolutionary pattern of synonymous mtDNA sites, distribution of conservative and non-conservative substitutions was analyzed. The rates of conservative and non-conservative substitutions were nearly equal, pointing to neutrality of mutation process at synonymous mtDNA sites of salamanders. Analysis of conservative and non-conservative synonymous substitution distributions in different parts of phylogenetic trees showed that the differences between the synonymous groups compared were statistically significant only in one phylogenetic group of Siberian salamander (haplogroup C) (P = 0.02). In the group of single substitutions, located at terminal phylogenetic branches of Siberian salamanders from group C, increased rate of conservative substitutions was observed. Based on these findings, it was suggested that selective processes could have an influence on the formation of the synonymous substitution profile in the Siberian salamander mtDNA fragment examined.

  20. 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.

  1. Identification of conservation units of the hynobiid salamander Pachyhynobius shangchengensis.

    PubMed

    Su, L-N; Zhao, Y-Y; Wu, X-M; Zhang, H-F; Li, X-C

    2015-08-19

    The evolutionary significant units (ESUs) of the salamander Pachyhynobius shangchengensis (Hynobiidae) in the Dabieshan mountains, southeastern China, were identified based on mitochondrial DNA data. We used methods for detecting cryptic species, such as the minimum spanning tree, the automatic barcode gap discovery, and the generalized mixed Yule-coalescent model; geographical partitioning was also used to identify the ESUs. A total of four ESUs were identified.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2015-01-01

    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

  3. 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.

  4. Plethodon cinereus (Redback Salamander) predation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jung, R.E.; Ward, W.L.; Kings, C.O.; Weir, L.A.

    2000-01-01

    In 1999 at the Patuxent Research Refuge, we observed a large rove beetle (Staphylinus maculosus) consuming an eviscerated redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) underneath a coverboard. Rove beetles typically eat invertebrates.

  5. 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.

  6. A little bit is better than nothing: the incomplete parthenogenesis of salamanders, frogs and fish.

    PubMed

    Lampert, Kathrin P; Schartl, Manfred

    2010-08-03

    A re-examination of the mitochondrial genomes of unisexual salamander lineages, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, shows them to be the oldest unisexual vertebrates known, having been around for 5 million years. This presents a challenge to the prediction that lack of genetic recombination is a fast track to extinction. See research article http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/238.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Phylogenetic relationships of the endangered Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) and other salamanders of the Plethodon cinereus group (Caudata : Plethodontidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sites, J.W.; Morando, M.; Highton, R.; Huber, F.; Jung, R.E.

    2004-01-01

    The Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah), known from isolated talus slopes on three of the highest mountains in Shenandoah National Park, is listed as state-endangered in Virginia and federally endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A 1999 paper by G. R. Thurow described P. shenandoah-like salamanders from three localities further south in the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province, which, if confirmed, would represent a range extension for P. shenandoah of approximately 90 km from its nearest known locality. Samples collected from two of these three localities were included in a molecular phylogenetic study of the known populations of P. shenandoah, and all other recognized species in the Plethodon cinereus group, using a 792 bp region of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Phylogenetic estimates were based on Bayesian, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony methods and topologies examined for placement of the new P. shenandoah-like samples relative to all others. All topologies recovered all haplotypes of the P. shenandoah-like animals nested within P. cinereus, and a statistical comparison of the best likelihood tree topology with one with an enforced (Thurow + Shenandoah P. shenandoah) clade revealed that the unconstrained tree had a significantly lower -In L score (P < 0.05, using the Shimodaira-Hasegawa test) than the constraint tree. This result and other anecdotal information give us no solid reason to consider the Thurow report valid. The current recovery program for P. shenandoah should remain focused on populations in Shenandoah National Park.

  13. Electrical discharges in Chinese salamander Andrias davidianus.

    PubMed

    Olshanskii, V M; Baron, V D; Wei, Xue

    2016-11-01

    In 2-year-old Chinese giant salamanders Andrias davidianus, occasional electric discharges with a characteristic pattern similar to the electric discharges of weakly electric catfish, Polypterus and Protopterus, were recorded for the first time. The discharges markedly differ in shape from the myograms accompanying abrupt movements of the salamander or exceeded them in amplitude by more than an order of magnitude. The discharges were recorded both in the autonomous experiment in the absence of experimenters and at a weak tactile stimulation.

  14. 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.

  15. Cardiac effects of hypoxia in the neotenous tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum.

    PubMed

    McKean, Tom; Li, Guolian; Wei, Kong

    2002-06-01

    The aquatic form of the tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum lives in high-altitude ponds and is exposed to a hypoxic environment that may be either chronic or intermittent. In many animal species, exposure to hypoxia stimulates cardiac output and is followed by an increase in cardiac mass. The working hypothesis of the present study was that the hearts of these aquatic salamanders exposed to 10-14 days of 5 % oxygen in a laboratory setting would become larger and would differentially express proteins that would help confer tolerance to hypoxia. During exposure to hypoxia, cardiac output increased, as did hematocrit. Cardiac mass also increased, but mitotic figures were not detected in the cardiac myocytes of colchicine-injected animals. The mass increase was probably due to hypertrophy, although a very slow rate of hyperplasia cannot be ruled out. Representational difference analysis indicated that at least 14 mRNAs were expressed in hearts from the hypoxic animals that were not expressed in hearts from normoxic animals. The differentially expressed genes were cloned and sequenced and confirmed as coming from the ventricles of the hypoxic salamanders. Genes differentially expressed include mitochondrial genes and genes for elongation factor 2, a protein synthesis gene. The mechanical performance of buffer-perfused hearts isolated from normoxic and hypoxic animals did not differ. Acute responses to hypoxia were also measured. The rate of oxygen consumption of unanesthetized salamanders in metabolism chambers decreased when chamber oxygen concentration was reduced below 12 % oxygen. At a chamber oxygen concentration of 4-6 %, the rate of oxygen consumption of the salamanders was reduced to approximately one-third of the normoxic rate.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. [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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. The first salamander defensin antimicrobial peptide.

    PubMed

    Meng, Ping; Yang, Shilong; Shen, Chuanbin; 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 sequence 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Phylogeography of Sardinian cave salamanders (genus Hydromantes) is mainly determined by geomorphology.

    PubMed

    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.

  9. Sex in unisexual salamanders: discovery of a new sperm donor with ancient affinities.

    PubMed

    Bogart, J P; Bartoszek, J; Noble, D W A; Bi, K

    2009-12-01

    Although bisexual reproduction has considerable evolutionary benefits, several all-female vertebrates exist. Unisexual salamanders in the genus Ambystoma are common around the Great Lakes region in eastern North America. They originated from a hybridization event that involved a female that shared a common ancestor with Ambystoma barbouri 2.4 to 3.9 million years ago but, unexpectedly, A. barbouri nuclear genomes were unknown in unisexuals. Unisexual salamanders steal sperm from donors of normally bisexual species, so their reproductive mode is described as kleptogenesis. Most known unisexuals are polyploid and they all possess at least one A. laterale genome. One or more other genomes are taken from sperm donors that may include A. jeffersonianum, A. laterale, A. texanum and A. tigrinum. We examined unisexual adults and larvae in a southern Ohio pond where unisexual individuals coexist with male A. barbouri. This population provided an opportunity to test hypotheses pertaining to the role of A. barbouri in the evolution of the disparate cytoplasmic and nuclear genomes in unisexual salamanders. Microsatellite DNA loci, mitochondrial DNA sequences and genomic in situ hybridization were used to identify the genomic constitution of individuals. A. barbouri was found to be an acceptable sperm donor for unisexuals but only contributed genomes in ploidy-elevated individuals. In the absence of A. jeffersonianum, this Ohio population is likely experiencing a recent switch in sperm donors from A. jeffersonianum to A. barbouri and demonstrates the evolutionary flexibility and dynamics of kleptogenesis.

  10. Large geographic range size reflects a patchwork of divergent lineages in the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum).

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, J A; Irwin, D E

    2012-11-01

    For northern taxa, persistence in multiple vs. single Pleistocene refugia may have been an important determinant of contemporary range size, with larger ranges achieved by species that colonized the north from several glacial refugia. Under this hypothesis, widespread species are expected to demonstrate marked phylogeographic structure in previously glaciated regions. We use a genome-wide survey to characterize genetic structure and evaluate this hypothesis in the most widely distributed salamander in the Pacific Northwest, the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum). Patterns of variation based on 751 amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) loci and mitochondrial sequence data were concordant and support the recognition of at least four distinct lineages of long-toed salamander. The distributions of these lineages indicate that multiple refugia contributed to the species' large contemporary range. At the same time, with up to 133 AFLP bands differing between lineages and levels of sequence divergence ranging from 2.5 to 5.8%, these lineages would be considered separate species by some definitions. Such splitting would partition the large geographic range of the long-toed salamander into several relatively restricted ranges. Our results thus also underscore the potential for estimates of geographic range size to vary considerably depending on the taxonomic treatment of cryptic lineages.

  11. 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 Central

    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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Skeletal muscle dedifferentiation during salamander limb regeneration.

    PubMed

    Wang, Heng; Simon, András

    2016-10-01

    Salamanders can regenerate entire limbs throughout their life. A critical step during limb regeneration is formation of a blastema, which gives rise to the new extremity. Salamander limb regeneration has historically been tightly linked to the term dedifferentiation, however, with refined research tools it is important to revisit the definition of dedifferentiation in the context. To what extent do differentiated cells revert their differentiated phenotypes? To what extent do progeny from differentiated cells cross lineage boundaries during regeneration? How do cell cycle plasticity and lineage plasticity relate to each other? What is the relationship between dedifferentiation of specialized cells and activation of tissue resident stem cells in terms of their contribution to the new limb? Here we highlight these problems through the case of skeletal muscle.

  16. 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

  17. Reproductive biology of Ambystoma salamanders in the southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

    Reproductive aspects of Ambystoma salamanders were investigated at sites in Louisiana (2010–12) and Mississippi (2013). Three species occurred at the Louisiana site, Spotted Salamander (A. maculatum), Marbled Salamander (A. opacum), and Mole Salamander (A. talpoideum), whereas only Spotted Salamanders were studied at the Mississippi site. A total of 162 and 71 egg masses of Spotted Salamanders were examined at the Louisiana and Mississippi sites, respectively. Significantly more Spotted Salamander eggs per egg mass were observed at the Mississippi site (x̄ = 78.2) than the Louisiana site (x̄ = 53.8; P < 0.001). The mean snout–vent length of female Spotted Salamanders at the Mississippi site (82.9 mm) was significantly larger than the Louisiana site (76.1 mm; P < 0.001). Opaque Spotted Salamander egg masses were not found at the Mississippi site, but accounted for 11% of examined egg masses at the Louisiana site. The mean number of eggs per egg mass at the Louisiana site did not differ between opaque (47.3) and clear (54.6) egg masses (P = 0.21). A total of 47 egg masses of the Mole Salamander were examined, with a mean number of 6.7 embryos per mass. Twenty-three individual nests of the Marbled Salamander were found either under or in decaying logs in the dry pond basins. There was no difference between the mean numbers of eggs per mass of attended nests (93.0) versus those that were discovered unattended (86.6; P = 0.67). Females tended to place their nests at intermediate heights within the pond basin.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hoffman, R.; 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.

  1. Fine-Scale Genetic Differentiation in a Salamander Hynobius tokyoensis Living in Fragmented Urban Habitats in and Around Tokyo, Japan.

    PubMed

    Sugawara, Hirotaka; Kusano, Tamotsu; Hayashi, Fumio

    2016-10-01

    Salamanders are expected to differentiate genetically among local populations due to their low dispersal ability, and are potentially susceptible to loss of genetic diversity if the population is isolated by habitat fragmentation. The salamander Hynobius tokyoensis is a lowland lentic breeder and endemic to a narrow area of central Japan. In this urban area, H. tokyoensis habitats are extensively fragmented and several populations are threatened with extinction, but information on genetic divergence and loss of genetic diversity is scarce. We performed mitochondrial (cyt b) and microsatellite (five loci) DNA analyses of 815 individuals from 46 populations in 12 regions across their entire distribution range. As a result, populations were clearly separated into northern and southern groups, and genetic differentiation among the 12 regions was also evident. Regional differentiation appears to be affected by a complex geographical history, but the genetic diversity of each population may have also been affected by recent habitat fragmentation. There were positive correlations between the mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA diversities. Some populations have lost genetic diversity in both mitochondrial and microsatellite DNAs; all such populations were at the peripheral edges of the species distribution range. Thus, even in attempts to restore genetic diversity in a small population by the transfer of outside individuals, efforts must be made to avoid genetic pollution.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Ancient DNA Assessment of Tiger Salamander Population in Yellowstone National Park

    PubMed Central

    McMenamin, Sarah K.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.

    2012-01-01

    Recent data indicates that blotched tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum) in northern regions of Yellowstone National Park are declining due to climate-related habitat changes. In this study, we used ancient and modern mitochondrial haplotype diversity to model the effective size of this amphibian population through recent geological time and to assess past responses to climatic changes in the region. Using subfossils collected from a cave in northern Yellowstone, we analyzed >700 base pairs of mitochondrial sequence from 16 samples ranging in age from 100 to 3300 years old and found that all shared an identical haplotype. Although mitochondrial diversity was extremely low within the living population, we still were able to detect geographic subdivision within the local area. Using serial coalescent modelling with Bayesian priors from both modern and ancient genetic data we simulated a range of probable population sizes and mutation rates through time. Our simulations suggest that regional mitochondrial diversity has remained relatively constant even through climatic fluctuations of recent millennia. PMID:22427878

  5. Ancient DNA assessment of tiger salamander population in Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    McMenamin, Sarah K; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2012-01-01

    Recent data indicates that blotched tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum) in northern regions of Yellowstone National Park are declining due to climate-related habitat changes. In this study, we used ancient and modern mitochondrial haplotype diversity to model the effective size of this amphibian population through recent geological time and to assess past responses to climatic changes in the region. Using subfossils collected from a cave in northern Yellowstone, we analyzed >700 base pairs of mitochondrial sequence from 16 samples ranging in age from 100 to 3300 years old and found that all shared an identical haplotype. Although mitochondrial diversity was extremely low within the living population, we still were able to detect geographic subdivision within the local area. Using serial coalescent modelling with Bayesian priors from both modern and ancient genetic data we simulated a range of probable population sizes and mutation rates through time. Our simulations suggest that regional mitochondrial diversity has remained relatively constant even through climatic fluctuations of recent millennia.

  6. Effects of urbanization on occupancy of stream salamanders.

    PubMed

    Price, Steven J; Cecala, Kristen K; Browne, Robert A; Dorcas, Michael E

    2011-06-01

    Urban development is the most common form of land conversion in the United States. Using a before-after control-impact study design, we investigated the effects of urbanization on larval and adult stages of southern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea cirrigera) and northern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus). Over 5 years, we estimated changes in occupancy and probabilities of colonization and survival in 13 stream catchments after urbanization and in 17 catchments that were not urbanized. We also examined effects of proportion of urbanized area in a catchment and distance of the salamander population to the nearest stream on probabilities of colonization and survival. Before urbanization, adult and larval stages of the two salamander species occupied nearly all surveyed streams, with occupancy estimates ranging from 1.0 to 0.78. Four years after urbanization mean occupancy of larval and adult two-lined salamanders had decreased from 0.87 and 0.78 to 0.57 and 0.39, respectively. Estimates of mean occupancy of larval northern dusky salamanders decreased from 1.0 to 0.57 in urban streams 4 years after urbanization; however, adult northern dusky salamander occupancy remained close to 1.0 in urban streams over 5 years. Occupancy estimates in control streams were similar for each species and stage over 5 years. Urbanization was associated with decreases in survival probabilities of adult and larval two-lined salamanders and decreases in colonization probabilities of larval dusky salamanders. Nevertheless, proportion of impervious surface and distance to nearest stream had little effect on probabilities of survival and colonization. Our results imply that in the evaluation of the effects of urbanization on species, such as amphibians, with complex life cycles, consideration of the effects of urbanization on both adult and larval stages is required.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Generation of aneurogenic larvae by parabiosis of salamander embryos.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Anoop; Delgado, Jean Paul

    2015-01-01

    Limb regeneration of salamanders is nerve dependent, and the removal of the nerves in early stages of limb regeneration severely curtails the proliferation of the blastemal cells and growth of the regenerate. The removal of the neural tube from a developing salamander embryo results in an aneurogenic larva and the aneurogenic limb (ANL) develops independently without innervation. Paradoxically, the limb in an ANL is capable of regeneration in a nerve-independent manner. Here, we describe a detailed method for the generation of ANL in the spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, for regeneration studies.

  10. 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.

  11. Sexual dimorphism and age of Mediterranean salamanders.

    PubMed

    Reinhard, Sandy; Renner, Sandra; Kupfer, Alexander

    2015-02-01

    We analysed sexual size dimorphism (SSD) for two Mediterranean species of the "true" salamander clade possessing distinct life histories (Salamandra algira and Mertensiella caucasica) and equilibrated the morphometric approach to individual age by using skeletochronology. For species that have a short breeding season and live at high altitudes, such as Mediterranean amphibians, the fecundity advantage hypothesis predicts female-biased SSD to maximise reproductive success. Our results showed no SSD in either species; however, morphometric data indicated a male-biased dimorphism in limb (arm and leg) dimensions in both species when compared to body size. Limb dimorphisms are likely related to the particular mating system, which involves an amplexus during spermatophore transfer. Arm length appeared sexually dimorphic during ontogeny both in viviparous S. algira and oviparous M. caucasica. A review on SSD indicated monomorphy of body size as a common lineage-specific pattern among the "true" salamander clade, but also the common presence of other traits such as sexually dimorphic limb proportions.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Historical Demography of an Endangered Salamander, Ranodon sibiricus (Amphibia, Urodela, Hynobiidae): A Reassessment.

    PubMed

    Nishikawa, Kanto; Dujsebayeva, Tatjana; Matsui, Masafumi; Yoshikawa, Natsuhiko; Tominaga, Atsushi

    2017-02-01

    Chinese populations of the endangered Siberian salamander Ranodon sibiricus are reported to have diverged only about 120 years ago, and to have the lowest genetic diversity of any amphibian. However, these conclusions require verification, as the main range of the species is in Kazakhstan. Moreover, the generation time used for estimating divergence time has a weak ground. In order to clarify these problems, we investigated the molecular phylogenetic relationship and historical demography of the species covering its whole distribution range using the mitochondrial DNA region reported for Chinese population (1072 bp sequences of the control region), while conducting skeletochronological analysis to estimate accurate generation time. As a result, the range expansion was estimated at 88,000-50,000 YA, based on the generation time of 6-10 years. Degree of intraspecific genetic differentiation is actually very small, but, as a single species, is not so small as had been reported for Chinese population alone.

  15. Terrestrial salamander abundance on reclaimed mountaintop removal mines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wood, Petra Bohall; Williams, Jennifer M.

    2013-01-01

    Mountaintop removal mining, a large-scale disturbance affecting vegetation, soil structure, and topography, converts landscapes from mature forests to extensive grassland and shrubland habitats. We sampled salamanders using drift-fence arrays and coverboard transects on and near mountaintop removal mines in southern West Virginia, USA, during 2000–2002. We compared terrestrial salamander relative abundance and species richness of un-mined, intact forest with habitats on reclaimed mountaintop removal mines (reclaimed grassland, reclaimed shrubland, and fragmented forest). Salamanders within forests increased in relative abundance with increasing distance from reclaimed mine edge. Reclaimed grassland and shrubland habitats had lower relative abundance and species richness than forests. Characteristics of reclaimed habitats that likely contributed to lower salamander abundance included poor soils (dry, compacted, little organic matter, high rock content), reduced vertical structure of vegetation and little tree cover, and low litter and woody debris cover. Past research has shown that salamander populations reduced by clearcutting may rebound in 15–24 years. Time since disturbance was 7–28 years in reclaimed habitats on our study areas and salamander populations had not reached levels found in adjacent mature forests.

  16. Defining evolutionary boundaries across parapatric ecomorphs of Black Salamanders (Aneides flavipunctatus) with conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Reilly, Sean B; Marks, Sharyn B; Jennings, W Bryan

    2012-12-01

    The accurate delimitation of evolutionary population units represents an important component in phylogeographic and conservation genetic studies. Here, we used a combined population assignment and historical demographic approach to study a complex of ecomorphologically distinctive populations of Black Salamanders (Aneides flavipunctatus) that are parapatrically distributed and meet at a three-way contact zone in north-western California. We used mitochondrial tree-based and multilocus clustering methods to evaluate a priori two- (Northern and Southern) and three (Northern, Coast and Inland) population hypotheses derived from previous studies. Mitochondrial results were consistent with the two- and three-population hypotheses, while the nDNA clustering results supported only the two-population hypothesis. Historical demographic analyses and mtDNA gene divergence estimates revealed that the Northern and Southern populations split during the Pliocene (2-5 Ma). Subdivision of the Southern population into Coast and Inland populations was estimated to be late Pleistocene (0.24 Ma), although our mtDNA results suggested a Pliocene divergence. Effective gene flow estimates (2N(e)m) suggest that either the two- or three-population hypotheses remain valid. However, our results unexpectedly revealed that the Northern population might instead represent two parapatric populations that separated nearly 4 Ma. These results are surprising because the Pliocene divergence between these ecomorphologically conservative forms is similar or older than for the ecomorphologically divergent Coast and Inland sister populations. We conclude that Black Salamanders in north-western California belong to at least three or four populations or species, and these all meet criteria for being Evolutionary Significant Units or 'ESUs' and therefore warrant conservation consideration.

  17. Invasive hybrid tiger salamander genotypes impact native amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Ryan, Maureen E.; Johnson, Jarrett R.; Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M.

    2009-01-01

    Although the ecological consequences of species invasions are well studied, the ecological impacts of genetic introgression through hybridization are less understood. This is particularly true of the impacts of hybridization on “third party” community members not genetically involved in hybridization. We also know little about how direct interactions between hybrid and parental individuals influence fitness. Here, we examined the ecological effects of hybridization between the native, threatened California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and the introduced Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium). Native x introduced hybrids are widespread in California, where they are top predators in seasonal ponds. We examined the impacts of early generation hybrids (first 2 generations of parental crosses) and contemporary hybrids derived from ponds where hybrids have been under selection in the wild for 20 generations. We found that most classes of hybrid tiger salamander larvae dramatically reduced survival of 2 native community members, the Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) and the California Newt (Taricha torosa). We also found that native A. californiense larvae were negatively impacted by the presence of hybrid larvae: Native survival and size at metamorphosis were reduced and time to metamorphosis was extended. We also observed a large influence of Mendelian dominance on size, metamorphic timing and predation rate of hybrid tiger salamanders. These results suggest that both genetic and ecological factors are likely to influence the dynamics of admixture, and that tiger salamander hybridization might constitute a threat to additional pond-breeding species of concern in the region. PMID:19564601

  18. Thyroid hormone responsive QTL and the evolution of paedomorphic salamanders.

    PubMed

    Voss, S R; Kump, D K; Walker, J A; Shaffer, H B; Voss, G J

    2012-11-01

    The transformation of ancestral phenotypes into novel traits is poorly understood for many examples of evolutionary novelty. Ancestrally, salamanders have a biphasic life cycle with an aquatic larval stage, a brief and pronounced metamorphosis, followed by a terrestrial adult stage. Repeatedly during evolution, metamorphic timing has been delayed to exploit growth-permissive environments, resulting in paedomorphic salamanders that retain larval traits as adults. We used thyroid hormone (TH) to rescue metamorphic phenotypes in paedomorphic salamanders and then identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for life history traits that are associated with amphibian life cycle evolution: metamorphic timing and adult body size. We demonstrate that paedomorphic tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum complex) carry alleles at three moderate effect QTL (met1-3) that vary in responsiveness to TH and additively affect metamorphic timing. Salamanders that delay metamorphosis attain significantly larger body sizes as adults and met2 explains a significant portion of this variation. Thus, substitution of alleles at TH-responsive loci suggests an adaptive pleiotropic basis for two key life-history traits in amphibians: body size and metamorphic timing. Our study demonstrates a likely pathway for the evolution of novel paedomorphic species from metamorphic ancestors via selection of TH-response alleles that delay metamorphic timing and increase adult body size.

  19. Invasive hybrid tiger salamander genotypes impact native amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Maureen E; Johnson, Jarrett R; Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M

    2009-07-07

    Although the ecological consequences of species invasions are well studied, the ecological impacts of genetic introgression through hybridization are less understood. This is particularly true of the impacts of hybridization on "third party" community members not genetically involved in hybridization. We also know little about how direct interactions between hybrid and parental individuals influence fitness. Here, we examined the ecological effects of hybridization between the native, threatened California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and the introduced Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium). Native x introduced hybrids are widespread in California, where they are top predators in seasonal ponds. We examined the impacts of early generation hybrids (first 2 generations of parental crosses) and contemporary hybrids derived from ponds where hybrids have been under selection in the wild for 20 generations. We found that most classes of hybrid tiger salamander larvae dramatically reduced survival of 2 native community members, the Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) and the California Newt (Taricha torosa). We also found that native A. californiense larvae were negatively impacted by the presence of hybrid larvae: Native survival and size at metamorphosis were reduced and time to metamorphosis was extended. We also observed a large influence of Mendelian dominance on size, metamorphic timing and predation rate of hybrid tiger salamanders. These results suggest that both genetic and ecological factors are likely to influence the dynamics of admixture, and that tiger salamander hybridization might constitute a threat to additional pond-breeding species of concern in the region.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Thyroid hormone responsive QTL and the evolution of paedomorphic salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Voss, S R; Kump, D K; Walker, J A; Shaffer, H B; Voss, G J

    2012-01-01

    The transformation of ancestral phenotypes into novel traits is poorly understood for many examples of evolutionary novelty. Ancestrally, salamanders have a biphasic life cycle with an aquatic larval stage, a brief and pronounced metamorphosis, followed by a terrestrial adult stage. Repeatedly during evolution, metamorphic timing has been delayed to exploit growth-permissive environments, resulting in paedomorphic salamanders that retain larval traits as adults. We used thyroid hormone (TH) to rescue metamorphic phenotypes in paedomorphic salamanders and then identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for life history traits that are associated with amphibian life cycle evolution: metamorphic timing and adult body size. We demonstrate that paedomorphic tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum complex) carry alleles at three moderate effect QTL (met1–3) that vary in responsiveness to TH and additively affect metamorphic timing. Salamanders that delay metamorphosis attain significantly larger body sizes as adults and met2 explains a significant portion of this variation. Thus, substitution of alleles at TH-responsive loci suggests an adaptive pleiotropic basis for two key life-history traits in amphibians: body size and metamorphic timing. Our study demonstrates a likely pathway for the evolution of novel paedomorphic species from metamorphic ancestors via selection of TH-response alleles that delay metamorphic timing and increase adult body size. PMID:22850698

  3. A potential wound-healing-promoting peptide from salamander skin.

    PubMed

    Mu, Lixian; Tang, Jing; Liu, Han; Shen, Chuanbin; Rong, Mingqiang; Zhang, Zhiye; Lai, Ren

    2014-09-01

    Although it is well known that wound healing proceeds incredibly quickly in urodele amphibians, such as newts and salamanders, little is known about skin-wound healing, and no bioactive/effector substance that contributes to wound healing has been identified from these animals. As a step toward understanding salamander wound healing and skin regeneration, a potential wound-healing-promoting peptide (tylotoin; KCVRQNNKRVCK) was identified from salamander skin of Tylototriton verrucosus. It shows comparable wound-healing-promoting ability (EC50=11.14 μg/ml) with epidermal growth factor (EGF; NSDSECPLSHDGYCLHDGVCMYIEALDKYACNCVVGYIGERCQYRDLKWWELR) in a murine model of full-thickness dermal wound. Tylotoin directly enhances the motility and proliferation of keratinocytes, vascular endothelial cells, and fibroblasts, resulting in accelerated reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation in the wound site. Tylotoin also promotes the release of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which are essential in the wound healing response. Gene-encoded tylotoin secreted in salamander skin is possibly an effector molecule for skin wound healing. This study may facilitate understanding of the cellular and molecular events that underlie quick wound healing in salamanders.

  4. From lamprey to salamander: an exploratory modeling study on the architecture of the spinal locomotor networks in the salamander.

    PubMed

    Bicanski, Andrej; Ryczko, Dimitri; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Ijspeert, Auke Jan

    2013-10-01

    The evolutionary transition from water to land required new locomotor modes and corresponding adjustments of the spinal "central pattern generators" for locomotion. Salamanders resemble the first terrestrial tetrapods and represent a key animal for the study of these changes. Based on recent physiological data from salamanders, and previous work on the swimming, limbless lamprey, we present a model of the basic oscillatory network in the salamander spinal cord, the spinal segment. Model neurons are of the Hodgkin-Huxley type. Spinal hemisegments contain sparsely connected excitatory and inhibitory neuron populations, and are coupled to a contralateral hemisegment. The model yields a large range of experimental findings, especially the NMDA-induced oscillations observed in isolated axial hemisegments and segments of the salamander Pleurodeles waltlii. The model reproduces most of the effects of the blockade of AMPA synapses, glycinergic synapses, calcium-activated potassium current, persistent sodium current, and [Formula: see text]-current. Driving segments with a population of brainstem neurons yields fast oscillations in the in vivo swimming frequency range. A minimal modification to the conductances involved in burst-termination yields the slower stepping frequency range. Slow oscillators can impose their frequency on fast oscillators, as is likely the case during gait transitions from swimming to stepping. Our study shows that a lamprey-like network can potentially serve as a building block of axial and limb oscillators for swimming and stepping in salamanders.

  5. Effects of mercury on behavior and performance of northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata).

    PubMed

    Burke, John N; Bergeron, Christine M; Todd, Brian D; Hopkins, William A

    2010-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) causes a range of deleterious effects in wildlife, but little is known about its effects on amphibians. Our objective was to determine whether Hg affects performance and behavior in two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata). We collected salamanders from Hg-contaminated and reference sites and assessed speed, responsiveness, and prey capture ability. Mercury concentrations were >17× higher in salamanders from the contaminated sites and were among the highest documented in amphibians. In the first, but not in the second, locomotion trial, we found a significant effect of Hg on speed and responsiveness. In the prey capture experiment, reference salamanders ate approximately twice as many prey items as the contaminated salamanders. Together, our results suggest that sublethal Hg concentrations may negatively affect salamanders by reducing their ability to successfully execute tasks critical to survival. Future work is warranted to determine whether Hg has other sublethal effects on salamanders and whether other amphibians are similarly affected.

  6. Banding differences between tiger salamander and axolotl chromosomes.

    PubMed

    Cuny, R; Malacinski, G M

    1985-10-01

    The Hoechst 33258 - Giemsa banding patterns were compared on axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum Shaw) and axolotl - tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum Green) species hybrid prophase chromosomes. Approximately 369 bands per haploid chromosome set were seen in the axolotl and about 344 bands in the tiger salamander. In the haploid set of 14 chromosomes, chromosome 3 has a constant short or q-arm terminal constriction at the location of the nucleolar organizer. Chromosomes 14 Z and W carry the sex determinants, the female being the heterogametic sex (ZW). The banding patterns of chromosomes 1, 6, 11, and 14 Z of the two species are apparently indistinguishable by our banding method. In the axolotl, chromosome 9 has a small long or p-arm terminal deletion. In the tiger salamander, the remaining 10 chromosomes have terminal or internal deletions. No translocations or inversions seem to have occurred since the gene pool separation of the two closely related species.

  7. Salamander limb development: integrating genes, morphology, and fossils.

    PubMed

    Fröbisch, Nadia B; Shubin, Neil H

    2011-05-01

    The development of the tetrapod limb during skeletogenesis follows a highly conservative pattern characterized by a general proximo-distal progression in the establishment of skeletal elements and a postaxial polarity in digit development. Salamanders represent the only exception to this pattern and display an early establishment of distal autopodial structures, specifically the basale commune, an amalgamation of distal carpal and tarsal 1 and 2, and a distinct preaxial polarity in digit development. This deviance from the conserved tetrapod pattern has resulted in a number of hypotheses to explain its developmental basis and evolutionary history. Here we summarize the current knowledge of salamander limb development under consideration of the fossil record to provide a deep time perspective of this evolutionary pathway and highlight what data will be needed in the future to gain a better understanding of salamander limb development specifically and tetrapod limb development and evolution more broadly.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Modular functional organisation of the axial locomotor system in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Charrier, Vanessa; Mathou, Alexia

    2014-02-01

    Most investigations on tetrapod locomotion have been concerned with limb movements. However, there is compelling evidence that the axial musculoskeletal system contributes to important functions during locomotion. Adult salamanders offer a remarkable opportunity to examine these functions because these amphibians use axial undulations to propel themselves in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. In this article, we review the currently available biological data on axial functions during various locomotor modes in salamanders. We also present data showing the modular organisation of the neural networks that generate axial synergies during locomotion. The functional implication of this modular organisation is discussed.

  11. Dusky salamanders (Desmognathus, Plethodontidae) from the Coastal Plain: multiple independent lineages and their bearing on the molecular phylogeny of the genus.

    PubMed

    Beamer, David A; Lamb, Trip

    2008-04-01

    Recent phylogenetic reassessment of the lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae) confirmed a major life-history reversal-from direct development to an aquatic larval stage-in the dusky salamanders (Desmognathus) of eastern North America. This reversal initiated high rates of lineage accumulation, reputedly generating the species richness and ecological breath that now characterize Desmognathus. Certain important aspects of the radiation, e.g., ecomorphological evolution, have been identified through intense sampling effort of Appalachian Highland lineages. However, the research preoccupation on montane species has left overlooked a significant component of dusky salamander distribution-the Coastal Plain. We present the first molecular phylogeny for Desmognathus to incorporate extensive coverage from the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. We examined 38 Coastal Plain populations in conjunction with 45 additional populations, representing 16 of the 19 nominal species. Bayesian analysis of 88 mitochondrial cox1 haplotypes diagnosed eight independent population lineages within the Coastal Plain, a number at odds with the region's three currently recognized species. Desmognathus has apparently experienced a complex biogeographic history in this physiographic region, one involving multiple invasions and several ecological transitions from lotic to lentic habitats.

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

    PubMed Central

    Zardoya, R; Meyer, A

    2000-01-01

    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

  13. 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.

  14. The molecular phylogenetics of endangerment: cryptic variation and historical phylogeography of the California tiger salamander, Ambystoma californiense.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, H Bradley; Pauly, Gregory B; Oliver, Jeffrey C; Trenham, Peter C

    2004-10-01

    A primary goal of conservation genetics is the discovery, delimitation and protection of phylogenetic lineages within sensitive or endangered taxa. Given the importance of lineage protection, a combination of phylogeography, historical geology and molecular clock analyses can provide an important historical context for overall species conservation. We present the results of a range-wide survey of genetic variation in the California tiger salamander, Ambystoma californiense, as well as a summary of the past several million years of inundation and isolation of the Great Central Valley and surrounding uplands that constitute its limited range. A combination of population genetic and phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA variation among 696 samples from 84 populations revealed six well-supported genetic units that are geographically discrete and characterized by nonoverlapping haplotype distributions. Populations from Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties are particularly well differentiated and geographically isolated from all others. The remaining units in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast Range, Central Valley and Bay Area are separated by geological features, ecological zone boundaries, or both. The geological history of the California landscape is consistent with molecular clock evidence suggesting that the Santa Barbara unit has been isolated for at least 0.74-0.92 Myr, and the Sonoma clade is equally ancient. Our work places patterns of genetic differentiation into both temporal- and landscape-level contexts, providing important insights into the conservation genetics of the California tiger salamander.

  15. 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.

  16. Digit reduction, body size, and paedomorphosis in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Wiens, John J; Hoverman, Jason T

    2008-01-01

    The loss of digits is a widespread evolutionary trend in tetrapods which occurs in nearly every major clade. Alberch and Gale showed that the order in which digits are evolutionarily lost in salamanders versus frogs corresponds to the order in which they develop in each group, providing a classic example of developmental constraint. However, what actually drives the loss of digits in salamanders has remained unclear. Alberch and Gale suggested that loss of digits might be associated with paedomorphosis or with reduced body size. We test these hypotheses by combining morphometric and phylogenetic information for 98 species of salamanders. We find that digit loss is associated with both paedomorphosis and reduction in body size. However, these trends are surprisingly contradictory, in that paedomorphosis is significantly associated with an increase in body size in salamanders. Thus, much of the extreme digit reduction is found in the smaller species within paedomorphic clades that have, on average, unusually large body size. Our results show that the consequences of changes in body size on morphology are highly context dependent. We also show (possibly for the first time) a significant association between paedomorphosis and increased body size, rather than the expected association with reduced body size.

  17. Slow DNA loss in the gigantic genomes of salamanders.

    PubMed

    Sun, Cheng; López Arriaza, José R; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2012-01-01

    Evolutionary changes in genome size result from the combined effects of mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift. Insertion and deletion mutations (indels) directly impact genome size by adding or removing sequences. Most species lose more DNA through small indels (i.e., ~1-30 bp) than they gain, which can result in genome reduction over time. Because this rate of DNA loss varies across species, small indel dynamics have been suggested to contribute to genome size evolution. Species with extremely large genomes provide interesting test cases for exploring the link between small indels and genome size; however, most large genomes remain relatively unexplored. Here, we examine rates of DNA loss in the tetrapods with the largest genomes-the salamanders. We used low-coverage genomic shotgun sequence data from four salamander species to examine patterns of insertion, deletion, and substitution in neutrally evolving non-long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon sequences. For comparison, we estimated genome-wide DNA loss rates in non-LTR retrotransposon sequences from five other vertebrate genomes: Anolis carolinensis, Danio rerio, Gallus gallus, Homo sapiens, and Xenopus tropicalis. Our results show that salamanders have significantly lower rates of DNA loss than do other vertebrates. More specifically, salamanders experience lower numbers of deletions relative to insertions, and both deletions and insertions are skewed toward smaller sizes. On the basis of these patterns, we conclude that slow DNA loss contributes to genomic gigantism in salamanders. We also identify candidate molecular mechanisms underlying these differences and suggest that natural variation in indel dynamics provides a unique opportunity to study the basis of genome stability.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. High occupancy of stream salamanders despite high ranavirus prevalence in a southern appalachians watershed.

    PubMed

    Rothermel, Betsie B; Travis, Emilie R; Miller, Debra L; Hill, Robert L; McGuire, Jessica L; Yabsley, Michael J

    2013-06-01

    The interactive effects of environmental stressors and emerging infectious disease pose potential threats to stream salamander communities and their headwater stream ecosystems. To begin assessing these threats, we conducted occupancy surveys and pathogen screening of stream salamanders (Family Plethodontidae) in a protected southern Appalachians watershed in Georgia and North Carolina, USA. Of the 101 salamanders screened for both chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus, only two exhibited low-level chytrid infections. Prevalence of Ranavirus was much higher (30.4% among five species of Desmognathus). Despite the ubiquity of ranaviral infections, we found high probabilities of site occupancy (≥0.60) for all stream salamander species.

  1. 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.

  2. Characterization of displaced bipolar cells in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Maple, Bruce R; Zhang, Jian; Pang, Ji-Jie; Gao, Fan; Wu, Samuel M

    2005-03-01

    In immunocytochemical studies of the tiger salamander retina, 17% of neurons in the outer nuclear layer did not label for recoverin, a photoreceptor marker. Lucifer yellow injection showed a population of cells in the ONL to be displaced bipolar cells, with axon terminals that stratified exclusively in the OFF sublamina of the inner plexiform layer (IPL), and predominately within the cone-dominated region of the OFF sublamina. Glutamate generated a dendritic cationic conductance increase in all displaced bipolar cells tested, and typical cone-dominated bipolar cell light responses were observed among displaced cells that stratified in the central IPL. We conclude that displaced bipolar cells in the tiger salamander retina are entirely OFF-center cells, and predominately cone-dominated cells.

  3. Salamander Blue-sensitive Cones Lost During Metamorphosis†

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Ying; Znoiko, Sergey; DeGrip, Willem J.; Crouch, Rosalie K.; Ma, Jian-xing

    2009-01-01

    The tiger salamander lives in shallow water with bright light in the aquatic phase, and in dim tunnels or caves in the terrestrial phase. In the aquatic phase, there are five types of photoreceptors—two types of rods and three types of cones. Our previous studies showed that the green rods and blue-sensitive cones contain the same visual pigment and have the same absorbance spectra; however, the green rods have a larger photon-catch area and thus have higher light sensitivity than the blue-sensitive cones. Here we show that after metamorphosis, the terrestrial salamander looses the blue-sensitive cones, while the density of the green rods increases. Moreover, the size of the green rod outer segments is increased in the terrestrial phase, compared to that in the aquatic phase. This switch from the blue-sensitive cones to the green rods may represent an adaptation to the dim light environment of the terrestrial phase. PMID:18331398

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Ancestry of an isolated subspecies of salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi Lowe: the evolutionary significance of hybridization.

    PubMed

    Jones, T R; Routman, E J; Begun, D J; Collins, J P

    1995-06-01

    Most phylogenetic systematists assume speciation results in dichotomously branching phylogenies. Hybridization that gives rise to a new lineage can produce character homoplasty that might obscure a species' true history. We report the results of a restriction-enzyme analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in three tiger salamander subspecies (Ambystoma trigrinum mavortium, Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum, and Ambystoma trigrinum stebbinsi) and compare the results to studies of morphological and allozymic variation in these taxa. Allozymically, A. t. mavortium and A. t. nebulosum share most of their genomes (although each has several unique alleles), yet color pattern and mtDNA haplotypes are distinct. Color pattern and allozyme data suggest that A. t. stebbinsi shares a common ancestor with A. t. mavortium, while the A. t. stebbinsi mtDNA haplotype is derived from an A. t. nebulosum haplotype. Thus, our data suggest that A. t. stebbinsi originated through hybridization between A. t. mavortium and A. t. nebulosum. That hybridization can produce recognizably distinct evolutionary entities has long been recognized for plants, but the evolutionary significance of hybridization in animals should be examined more closely. Conservation agencies must recognize that hybrids and hybrid taxa are not necessarily evolutionary "mistakes," and they might have significant importance in the production of natural biodiversity.

  9. Extensive unidirectional introgression between two salamander lineages of ancient divergence and its evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Canestrelli, Daniele; Bisconti, Roberta; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2014-01-01

    Hybridization and introgression, contrary to previous beliefs, are now considered to be widespread processes even among animal species. Nonetheless, the range of their possible outcomes and roles in moulding biodiversity patterns are still far from being fully appraised. Here we investigated the pattern of hybridization and introgression between Salamandrina perspicillata and S. terdigitata, two salamanders endemic to the Italian peninsula. Using a set of diagnostic or differentiated genetic markers (9 nuclear and 1 mitochondrial), we documented extensive unidirectional introgression of S. terdigitata alleles into the S. perspicillata gene pool in central Italy, indicating that barriers against hybridization were permeable when they came into secondary contact, and despite their ancient divergence. Nonetheless, purebred S. terdigitata, as well as F1, F2, and backcrosses were not found within the hybrid zone. Moreover, Bayesian analyses of population structure identified admixed populations belonging to a differentiated gene pool with respect to both parental populations. Overall, the observed genetic structure, together with their geographic pattern of distribution, suggests that Salamandrina populations in central Italy could have entered a distinct evolutionary pathway. How far they have gone along this pathway will deserve future investigation. PMID:25269625

  10. Extensive unidirectional introgression between two salamander lineages of ancient divergence and its evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Canestrelli, Daniele; Bisconti, Roberta; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2014-10-01

    Hybridization and introgression, contrary to previous beliefs, are now considered to be widespread processes even among animal species. Nonetheless, the range of their possible outcomes and roles in moulding biodiversity patterns are still far from being fully appraised. Here we investigated the pattern of hybridization and introgression between Salamandrina perspicillata and S. terdigitata, two salamanders endemic to the Italian peninsula. Using a set of diagnostic or differentiated genetic markers (9 nuclear and 1 mitochondrial), we documented extensive unidirectional introgression of S. terdigitata alleles into the S. perspicillata gene pool in central Italy, indicating that barriers against hybridization were permeable when they came into secondary contact, and despite their ancient divergence. Nonetheless, purebred S. terdigitata, as well as F1, F2, and backcrosses were not found within the hybrid zone. Moreover, Bayesian analyses of population structure identified admixed populations belonging to a differentiated gene pool with respect to both parental populations. Overall, the observed genetic structure, together with their geographic pattern of distribution, suggests that Salamandrina populations in central Italy could have entered a distinct evolutionary pathway. How far they have gone along this pathway will deserve future investigation.

  11. 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.

  12. Predator perception of Batesian mimicry and conspicuousness in a salamander.

    PubMed

    Kraemer, Andrew C; Adams, Dean C

    2014-04-01

    In Batesian mimicry a palatable mimic deceives predators by resembling an unpalatable model. The evolution of Batesian mimicry relies on the visual capabilities of the potential predators, as prey detection provides the selective force driving evolutionary change. We compared the visual capabilities of several potential predators to test predictions stemming from the hypothesis of Batesian mimicry between two salamanders: the model species Notophthalmus viridescens, and polymorphic mimic, Plethodon cinereus. First, we found mimicry to be restricted to coloration, but not brightness. Second, only bird predators appeared able to discriminate between the colors of models and nonmimic P. cinereus. Third, estimates of salamander conspicuousness were background dependent, corresponding to predictions only for backgrounds against which salamanders are most active. These results support the hypothesis that birds influence the evolution of Batesian mimicry in P. cinereus, as they are the only group examined capable of differentiating N. viridescens and nonmimetic P. cinereus. Additionally, patterns of conspicuousness suggest that selection from predators may drive the evolution of conspicuousness in this system. This study confirms the expectation that the visual abilities of predators may influence the evolution of Batesian mimicry, but the role of conspicuousness may be more complex than previously thought.

  13. Evolutionary history of a complex adaptation: Tetrodotoxin resistance in salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Hanifin, Charles T.; Gilly, William F.

    2017-01-01

    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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. HEMATOLOGY AND PLASMA BIOCHEMISTRY INTERVALS FOR CAPTIVE-BORN CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDERS (AMBYSTOMA CALIFORNIENSE).

    PubMed

    Brady, Sean; Burgdorf-Moisuk, Anne; Kass, Philip H; Brady, Jacqueline; Wack, Raymund F

    2016-09-01

    Hematology and plasma biochemistry parameters were determined for 34 captive-born California tiger salamanders ( Ambystoma californiense ). The animals were manually restrained for general examination and venipuncture. This is the first comprehensive report of hematology and plasma biochemistry parameters in apparently healthy California tiger salamanders and may serve as a reference for clinical assessment and future study of this species.

  1. 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

  2. Significance of pre-Quaternary climate change for montane species diversity: insights from Asian salamanders (Salamandridae: Pachytriton).

    PubMed

    Wu, Yunke; Wang, Yuezhao; Jiang, Ke; Hanken, James

    2013-01-01

    Despite extensive focus on the genetic legacy of Pleistocene glaciation, impacts of earlier climatic change on biodiversity are poorly understood. Because amphibians are highly sensitive to variations in precipitation and temperature, we use a genus of Chinese montane salamanders (Salamandridae: Pachytriton) to study paleoclimatic change in East Asia, which experienced intensification of its monsoon circulation in the late Miocene associated with subsequent Pliocene warming. Using both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences, we reconstruct the species tree under a coalescent model and demonstrate that all major lineages originated before the Quaternary. Initial speciation within the genus occurred after the summer monsoon entered a stage of substantial intensification. Heavy summer precipitation established temporary water connectivity through overflows between adjacent stream systems, which may facilitate geographic range expansion by aquatic species such as Pachytriton. Species were formed in allopatry likely through vicariant isolation during or after range expansion. To evaluate the influence of Pliocene warming on these cold-adapted salamanders, we construct a novel temperature buffer-zone model, which suggests widespread physiological stress or even extinction during the warming period. A significant deceleration of species accumulation rate is consistent with Pliocene range contraction, which affected P. granulosus and P. archospotus the most because they lack large temperature buffer zones. In contrast, demographic growth occurred in species for which refugia persist. The buffer-zone model reveals the Huangshan Mountain as a potential climatic refugium, which is similar to that found for other East Asian organisms. Our approach can incorporate future climatic data to evaluate the potential impact of ongoing global warming on montane species (particularly amphibians) and to predict possible population declines.

  3. Salamander paedomorphosis: linking thyroid hormone to life history and life cycle evolution.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Carlena K; Voss, S Randal

    2013-01-01

    Many salamanders have biphasic life cycles with aquatic larval and terrestrial adult phases. In these species, the transition between phases-metamorphosis-requires thyroid hormone (TH) activation of transcriptional programs that cause regression of larval traits and development of adult traits. During salamander evolution, TH signaling pathways have been altered in biphasic species to yield paedomorphic salamanders that retain larval traits and attain sexual maturity in larval aquatic habitats. We review literature concerning the ecology, evolution, and hormonal regulation of metamorphic, paedomorphic, and facultative salamander life histories. We then discuss recent microarray results that detail gene expression signatures of metamorphosis and paedomorphosis, and genetic results that establish TH responsiveness as a continuous trait with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) basis. TH-responsive QTL from ambystomatid salamanders explain variation in metamorphic timing, expression of metamorphosis versus paedomorphosis, and adult fitness traits. We propose a model for salamander life history evolution that links adaptation to aquatic habitats with TH-responsive loci that pleiotropically alter metamorphic timing and adult body size. Future studies that adopt genetic and genomic approaches will further establish salamanders as ideal models for investigating TH signaling mechanisms that regulate postembryonic development and the expression of alternate life histories.

  4. 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.

  5. What Do Owls, Salamanders, Flycatchers and Cuckoos Have In Common?

    SciTech Connect

    Musgrave, Maria A.

    2016-09-27

    This is an article from the Los Alamos Living magazine. Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on a beautiful and unique landscape that provides important protected habitat to many species, including a few that are federally-listed as threatened or endangered. These species are the Jemez Mountains Salamander, the Mexican Spotted Owl, the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse. Part of the job of the Laboratory's wildlife biologists is to survey for these species each year and determine what actions need to be taken if they are found.

  6. 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)

  7. 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 +

  8. 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.

  9. A new species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae, Bolitoglossa) from Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuela.

    PubMed

    García-Gutiérrez, Javier; Escalona, Moisés; Mora, Andrés; Díaz De Pascual, Amelia; Fermin, Gustavo

    2013-01-01

    In this article, a new species of salamander of the genus Bolitoglossa (Eladinea) from the cloud forest near La Mucuy in Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuelan Andes, is described. Bolitoglossa mucuyensis sp. nov. differs from all Venezuelan salamanders, except B. orestes, by a larger SVL/TL ratio, and from La Culata salamander B. orestes by a reduced webbing extension of the front and hind limbs. Additionally, B. mucuyensis sp. nov. and B. orestes diverge 3.12% in terms of the nucleotide sequence of the 16S rRNA gene, as previously reported, and in 8.1% for the cytb gene as shown in this study.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Iteroparity in the variable environment of the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Church, D.R.; Bailey, L.L.; Wilbur, H.M.; Kendall, W.L.; Hines, J.E.

    2007-01-01

    Simultaneous estimation of survival, reproduction, and movement is essential to understanding how species maximize lifetime reproduction in environments that vary across space and time. We conducted a four-year, capture–recapture study of three populations of eastern tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) and used multistate mark–recapture statistical methods to estimate the manner in which movement, survival, and breeding probabilities vary under different environmental conditions across years and among populations and habitats. We inferred how individuals may mitigate risks of mortality and reproductive failure by deferring breeding or by moving among populations. Movement probabilities among populations were extremely low despite high spatiotemporal variation in reproductive success and survival, suggesting possible costs to movements among breeding ponds. Breeding probabilities varied between wet and dry years and according to whether or not breeding was attempted in the previous year. Estimates of survival in the nonbreeding, forest habitat varied among populations but were consistent across time. Survival in breeding ponds was generally high in years with average or high precipitation, except for males in an especially ephemeral pond. A drought year incurred severe survival costs in all ponds to animals that attempted breeding. Female salamanders appear to defer these episodic survival costs of breeding by choosing not to breed in years when the risk of adult mortality is high. Using stochastic simulations of survival and breeding under historical climate conditions, we found that an interaction between breeding probabilities and mortality limits the probability of multiple breeding attempts differently between the sexes and among populations.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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.

  14. Atrazine increases ranavirus susceptibility in the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum.

    PubMed

    Forson, Diane Denise; Storfer, Andrew

    2006-12-01

    Pathogenic diseases and environmental contaminants are two of the leading hypotheses for global amphibian declines, yet few studies have examined the influence of contaminants on disease susceptibility. In this study, we examined effects of ecologically relevant doses of atrazine (0, 1.6, 16, and 160 microg/L), sodium nitrate (0, 6.8, 68 mg/L), and their interactions on susceptibility of four laboratory-bred tiger salamander families to Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV), a pathogen implicated in global amphibian die-offs. Salamanders were from Arizona populations where a coevolutionary history with ATV is supported, and thus cofactors rather than recent introduction may contribute to disease epizootics. Use of atrazine and nitrogenous fertilizers are ubiquitous; therefore, the impact of these cofactors on disease susceptibility is an important consideration. Atrazine and sodium nitrate significantly decreased peripheral leukocyte levels, suggesting an impact of these contaminants on the immune system. As expected from this result, atrazine significantly increased susceptibility of larvae to ATV infection. In contrast, nitrate had a marginally significant main effect and significantly decreased infection rate at the highest level. However, neither atrazine nor sodium nitrate had significant effects on viral copy number per individual. These results suggest that ecologically relevant concentrations of atrazine and nitrates have immunosuppressive effects, and atrazine may contribute to ATV epizootics, raising concerns about the influence of contaminants on diseases in general.

  15. Iteroparity in the variable environment of the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum.

    PubMed

    Church, Don R; Bailey, Larissa L; Wilbur, Henry M; Kendall, William L; Hines, James E

    2007-04-01

    Simultaneous estimation of survival, reproduction, and movement is essential to understanding how species maximize lifetime reproduction in environments that vary across space and time. We conducted a four-year, capture-recapture study of three populations of eastern tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) and used multistate mark-recapture statistical methods to estimate the manner in which movement, survival, and breeding probabilities vary under different environmental conditions across years and among populations and habitats. We inferred how individuals may mitigate risks of mortality and reproductive failure by deferring breeding or by moving among populations. Movement probabilities among populations were extremely low despite high spatiotemporal variation in reproductive success and survival, suggesting possible costs to movements among breeding ponds. Breeding probabilities varied between wet and dry years and according to whether or not breeding was attempted in the previous year. Estimates of survival in the nonbreeding, forest habitat varied among populations but were consistent across time. Survival in breeding ponds was generally high in years with average or high precipitation, except for males in an especially ephemeral pond. A drought year incurred severe survival costs in all ponds to animals that attempted breeding. Female salamanders appear to defer these episodic survival costs of breeding by choosing not to breed in years when the risk of adult mortality is high. Using stochastic simulations of survival and breeding under historical climate conditions, we found that an interaction between breeding probabilities and mortality limits the probability of multiple breeding attempts differently between the sexes and among populations.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Macrophages are required for adult salamander limb regeneration.

    PubMed

    Godwin, James W; Pinto, Alexander R; Rosenthal, Nadia A

    2013-06-04

    The failure to replace damaged body parts in adult mammals results from a muted growth response and fibrotic scarring. Although infiltrating immune cells play a major role in determining the variable outcome of mammalian wound repair, little is known about the modulation of immune cell signaling in efficiently regenerating species such as the salamander, which can regrow complete body structures as adults. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of immune signaling during limb regeneration in axolotl, an aquatic salamander, and reveal a temporally defined requirement for macrophage infiltration in the regenerative process. Although many features of mammalian cytokine/chemokine signaling are retained in the axolotl, they are more dynamically deployed, with simultaneous induction of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory markers within the first 24 h after limb amputation. Systemic macrophage depletion during this period resulted in wound closure but permanent failure of limb regeneration, associated with extensive fibrosis and disregulation of extracellular matrix component gene expression. Full limb regenerative capacity of failed stumps was restored by reamputation once endogenous macrophage populations had been replenished. Promotion of a regeneration-permissive environment by identification of macrophage-derived therapeutic molecules may therefore aid in the regeneration of damaged body parts in adult mammals.

  19. 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.

  20. Evolutionary basis of mitonuclear discordance between sister species of mole salamanders (Ambystoma sp.).

    PubMed

    Denton, Robert D; Kenyon, Laura J; Greenwald, Katherine R; Gibbs, H Lisle

    2014-06-01

    Distinct genetic markers should show similar patterns of differentiation between species reflecting their common evolutionary histories, yet there are increasing examples of differences in the biogeographic distribution of species-specific nuclear (nuDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants within and between species. Identifying the evolutionary processes that underlie these anomalous patterns of genetic differentiation is an important goal. Here, we analyse the putative mitonuclear discordance observed between sister species of mole salamanders (Ambystoma barbouri and A. texanum) in which A. barbouri-specific mtDNA is found in animals located within the range of A. texanum. We test three hypotheses for this discordance (undetected range expansion, mtDNA introgression, and hybridization) using nuDNA and mtDNA data analysed with methods that varied in the parameters estimated and the timescales measured. Results from a Bayesian clustering technique (structure), bidirectional estimates of gene flow (migrate-n and IMa2) and phylogeny-based methods (*beast, bucky) all support the conclusion that the discordance is due to geographically restricted mtDNA introgression from A. barbouri into A. texanum. Limited data on species-specific tooth morphology match this conclusion. Significant differences in environmental conditions exist between sites where A. texanum with and without A. barbouri-like mtDNA occur, suggesting a possible role for selection in the process of introgression. Overall, our study provides a general example of the value of using complimentary analyses to make inferences of the directionality, timescale, and source of mtDNA introgression in animals.

  1. [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.

  2. 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 ...

  3. Overwintered Bullfrog tadpoles negatively affect Salamanders and Anurans in native amphibian communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boone, M.D.; Little, E.E.; Semlitsch, R.D.

    2004-01-01

    We examined the interactive effects of overwintered Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) tadpoles and pond hydroperiod on a community of larval amphibians in outdoor mesocosms including American Toads (Bufo americanus), Southern Leopard Frogs (Rana sphenocephala), and Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) - species within the native range of Bullfrogs. Spotted Salamanders and Southern Leopard Frogs were negatively influenced by the presence of overwintered Bullfrogs. Spotted Salamanders had shorter larval periods and slightly smaller masses at metamorphosis, and Southern Leopard Frogs had smaller masses at metamorphosis when reared with Bullfrogs than without. Presence of overwintered Bullfrogs, however, did not significantly affect American Toads. Longer pond hydroperiods resulted in greater survival, greater size at metamorphosis, longer larval periods, and later time until emergence of the first metamorphs for Southern Leopard Frog tadpoles and Spotted Salamander larvae. Our study demonstrated that overwintered Bullfrog tadpoles can respond to changing pond hydroperiods and can negatively impact metamorphosis of native amphibians.

  4. 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 ...

  5. Salamander regeneration as a model for developing novel regenerative and anticancer therapies.

    PubMed

    Fior, Jonathan

    2014-01-01

    Among vertebrates, urodele amphibians are the only tetrapods with the ability to regenerate complex structures such as limbs, tail, and spinal cord throughout their lives. Furthermore, the salamander regeneration process has been shown to reverse tumorigenicity. Fibroblasts are essential for salamander regeneration, but the mechanisms underlying their role in the formation of a regeneration blastema remain unclear. Here, I review the role of fibroblasts in salamander limb regeneration and how their activity compares with that of human fibroblasts. In addition, the question of whether salamander blastema tissue could induce regeneration and tumor regression in animals with a limited regeneration ability is discussed. A deeper understanding of these processes may lead to the development of novel regenerative and anticancer therapies.

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

    PubMed

    Docherty, Douglas E; Meteyer, Carol U; Wang, Jun; Mao, Jinghe; Case, Steven T; Chinchar, V Gregory

    2003-07-01

    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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Local and landscape scale factors influencing edge effects on woodland salamanders.

    PubMed

    Moseley, Kurtis R; Ford, W Mark; Edwards, John W

    2009-04-01

    We examined local and landscape-scale variable influence on the depth and magnitude of edge effects on woodland salamanders in mature mixed mesophytic and northern hardwood forest adjacent to natural gas well sites maintained as wildlife openings. We surveyed woodland salamander occurrence from June-August 2006 at 33 gas well sites in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. We used an information-theoretic approach to test nine a priori models explaining landscape-scale effects on woodland salamander capture proportion within 20 m of field edge. Salamander capture proportion was greater within 0-60 m than 61-100 m of field edges. Similarly, available coarse woody debris proportion was greater within 0-60 m than 61-100 m of field edge. Our ASPECT model, that incorporated the single variable aspect, received the strongest support for explaining landscape-scale effects on salamander capture proportion within 20 m of opening edge. The ASPECT model indicated that fewer salamanders occurred within 20 m of opening edges on drier, hotter southwestern aspects than in moister, cooler northeastern aspects. Our results suggest that forest habitat adjacent to maintained edges and with sufficient cover still can provide suitable habitat for woodland salamander species in central Appalachian mixed mesophytic and northern hardwood forests. Additionally, our modeling results support the contention that edge effects are more severe on southwesterly aspects. These results underscore the importance of distinguishing among different edge types as well as placing survey locations within a landscape context when investigating edge impacts on woodland salamanders.

  10. 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

  11. Evaluation of terrestrial and streamside salamander monitoring techniques at Shenandoah National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jung, R.E.; Droege, S.; Sauer, J.R.; Landy, R.B.

    2000-01-01

    In response to concerns about amphibian declines, a study evaluating and validating amphibian monitoring techniques was initiated in Shenandoah and Big Bend National Parks in the spring of 1998. We evaluate precision, bias, and efficiency of several sampling methods for terrestrial and streamside salamanders in Shenandoah National Park and assess salamander abundance in relation to environmental variables, notably soil and water pH. Terrestrial salamanders, primarily redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus), were sampled by searching under cover objects during the day in square plots (10 to 35 m2). We compared population indices (mean daily and total counts) with adjusted population estimates from capture-recapture. Analyses suggested that the proportion of salamanders detected (p) during sampling varied among plots, necessitating the use of adjusted population estimates. However, adjusted population estimates were less precise than population indices, and may not be efficient in relating salamander populations to environmental variables. In future sampling, strategic use of capture-recapture to verify consistency of p's among sites may be a reasonable compromise between the possibility of bias in estimation of population size and deficiencies due to inefficiency associated with the estimation of p. The streamside two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata) was surveyed using four methods: leaf litter refugia bags, 1 m2 quadrats, 50 x 1 m visual encounter transects, and electric shocking. Comparison of survey methods at nine streams revealed congruent patterns of abundance among sites, suggesting that relative bias among the methods is similar, and that choice of survey method should be based on precision and logistical efficiency. Redback and two-lined salamander abundance were not significantly related to soil or water pH, respectively.

  12. Estimation of stream salamander (Plethodontidae, Desmognathinae and Plethodontinae) populations in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jung, R.E.; Royle, J. Andrew; Sauer, J.R.; Addison, C.; Rau, R.D.; Shirk, J.L.; Whissel, J.C.

    2005-01-01

    Stream salamanders in the family Plethodontidae constitute a large biomass in and near headwater streams in the eastern United States and are promising indicators of stream ecosystem health. Many studies of stream salamanders have relied on population indices based on counts rather than population estimates based on techniques such as capture-recapture and removal. Application of estimation procedures allows the calculation of detection probabilities (the proportion of total animals present that are detected during a survey) and their associated sampling error, and may be essential for determining salamander population sizes and trends. In 1999, we conducted capture-recapture and removal population estimation methods for Desmognathus salamanders at six streams in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA. Removal sampling appeared more efficient and detection probabilities from removal data were higher than those from capture-recapture. During 2001-2004, we used removal estimation at eight streams in the park to assess the usefulness of this technique for long-term monitoring of stream salamanders. Removal detection probabilities ranged from 0.39 to 0.96 for Desmognathus, 0.27 to 0.89 for Eurycea and 0.27 to 0.75 for northern spring (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) and northern red (Pseudotriton ruber) salamanders across stream transects. Detection probabilities did not differ across years for Desmognathus and Eurycea, but did differ among streams for Desmognathus. Population estimates of Desmognathus decreased between 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 which may be related to changes in stream flow conditions. Removal-based procedures may be a feasible approach for population estimation of salamanders, but field methods should be designed to meet the assumptions of the sampling procedures. New approaches to estimating stream salamander populations are discussed.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Pathology, isolation, and preliminary molecular characterization of a novel iridovirus from tiger salamanders in Saskatchewan.

    PubMed

    Bollinger, T K; Mao, J; Schock, D; Brigham, R M; Chinchar, V G

    1999-07-01

    All iridovirus was confirmed to be the cause of an epizootic in larval and adult tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum diaboli) from four separate ponds in southern Saskatchewan (Canada) during the summer of 1997. This organism also is suspected, based on electron microscopic findings, to be the cause of mortality of larval tiger salamanders in a pond over 200 km to the north during the same year. Salamanders developed a generalized viremia which resulted in various lesions including: necrotizing, vesicular and ulcerative dermatitis; gastrointestinal ulceration; and necrosis of hepatic, splenic, renal, lymphoid, and hematopoietic tissues. In cells associated with these lesions, large lightly basophilic cytoplasmic inclusions and vacuolated nuclei with marginated chromatin were consistently found. Virus was isolated from tissue homogenates of infected salamanders following inoculation of epithelioma papilloma cyprini (EPC) cells. The virus, provisionally designated Regina ranavirus (RRV), was initially identified as an iridovirus by electron microscopy. Subsequent molecular characterization, including partial sequence analysis of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene, confirmed this assignment and established that RRV was a ranavirus distinct from frog virus 3 (FV3) and other members of the genus Ranavirus. Intraperitoneal inoculation of 5 x 10(6.23) TCID50 of the field isolate caused mortality in inoculated salamanders at 13 days post infection. Field, clinical, and molecular studies jointly suggest that the etiological agent of recent salamander mortalities is a highly infectious novel ranavirus.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Mercury bioaccumulation in northern two-lined salamanders from streams in the northeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Bank, Michael S; Loftin, Cynthia S; Jung, Robin E

    2005-03-01

    Mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in salamanders has received little attention despite widespread Hg contamination of aquatic ecosystems and worldwide amphibian declines. Here we report concentrations of methyl Hg (MeHg) and total Hg in larval northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata bislineata) collected from streams in Acadia National Park (ANP), Maine, and Bear Brook Watershed, Maine (BBWM; a paired, gauged watershed treated with bimonthly applications (25 kg/ha/yr) of ammonium sulfate [(NH4)2SO4]) since 1989), and Shenandoah National Park (SNP), Virginia. MeHg comprised 73-97% of total Hg in the larval salamander composite samples from ANP. At BBWM we detected significantly higher total. Hg levels in larvae from the (NH4)2SO4 treatment watershed. At ANP total Hg concentrations in salamander larvae were significantly higher from streams in unburned watersheds in contrast with larval samples collected from streams located in watersheds burned by the 1947 Bar Harbor fire. Additionally, total Hg levels were significantly higher in salamander larvae collected at ANP in contrast with SNP. Our results suggest that watershed-scale attributes including fire history, whole-catchment (NH4)2SO4 additions, wetland extent, and forest cover type influence mercury bioaccumulation in salamanders inhabiting lotic environments. We also discuss the use of this species as an indicator of Hg bioaccumulation in stream ecosystems.

  19. Organisation of the spinal central pattern generators for locomotion in the salamander: biology and modelling.

    PubMed

    Chevallier, Stéphanie; Jan Ijspeert, Auke; Ryczko, Dimitri; Nagy, Frédéric; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie

    2008-01-01

    Among living tetrapods, salamanders are regarded as most closely resembling the first terrestrial vertebrates, and are therefore an interesting group in which the evolutionary changes in the locomotor behaviour from aquatic to terrestrial habitats can be inferred. Salamanders exhibit two locomotor modes: swimming and terrestrial stepping. The swimming is anguilliform and resembles closely that of the lamprey. On the ground, the salamander switches to a stepping gait with axial undulations that is also observed in many reptiles. The salamander is therefore ideally suited for examining the neural mechanisms for the generation of these two locomotor modes, as well as the neural mechanisms of gait transition. In the present paper, we describe the kinematics and patterns of activation of axial and limb muscles during stepping and swimming in adult salamanders. We then review the current neurobiological data about the organisation of the spinal networks underlying swimming and stepping, and the mechanisms of gait transition. Finally we report modelling studies aimed at understanding the organisation and operation of the salamander locomotor circuits. Altogether, the neurobiological and the modelling data support the hypothesis of a phylogenetic conservatism from agnathians to amphibians of the spinal locomotor networks generating axial motor patterns.

  20. Mercury bioaccumulation in northern two-lined salamanders from streams in the northeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bank, M.S.; Loftin, C.S.; Jung, R.E.

    2005-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in salamanders has received little attention despite widespread Hg contamination of aquatic ecosystems and worldwide amphibian declines. Here we report concentrations of methyl Hg (MeHg) and total Hg in larval northern two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata bislineata) collected from streams in Acadia National Park (ANP), Maine, and Bear Brook Watershed, Maine (BBWM; a paired, gauged watershed treated with bimonthly applications (25 kg/ha/yr) of ammonium sulfate [(NH4)(2)SO4]) since 1989), and Shenandoah National Park (SNP), Virginia. MeHg comprised 73-97% of total Hg in the larval salamander composite samples from ANP. At BBWM we detected significantly higher total Hg levels in larvae from the (NH4)(2)SO4 treatment watershed. At ANP total Hg concentrations in salamander larvae were significantly higher from streams in unburned watersheds in contrast with larval samples collected from streams located in watersheds burned by the 1947 Bar Harbor fire. Additionally, total Hg levels were significantly higher in salamander larvae collected at ANP in contrast with SNP. Our results suggest that watershed-scale attributes including. re history, whole-catchment (NH4)(2)SO4 additions, wetland extent, and forest cover type influence mercury bioaccumulation in salamanders inhabiting lotic environments. We also discuss the use of this species as an indicator of Hg bioaccumulation in stream ecosystems.

  1. 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.

  2. Detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in endemic salamander species from central Texas.

    PubMed

    Gaertner, James P; Forstner, Michael R J; O'Donnell, Lisa; Hahn, Dittmar

    2009-03-01

    A nested PCR protocol was used to analyze five endemic salamander species from Central Texas for the presence of the emerging pathogen, chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). Chytrid fungus was detected from samples of each of the five species sampled: with low abundance, in the Texas salamander (Eurycea neotenes) (1 positive out of 16 individuals tested; 1/16), the Blanco River Springs salamander (E. pterophila) (1/20), the threatened San Marcos salamander (E. nana) (1/17), and the endangered Barton Springs salamander (E. sosorum) (1/7); much higher abundance was obtained for the Jollyville Plateau salamander (E. tonkawae) (6/14), which has recently been petitioned for addition to the USA endangered species list. With one exception, sequences of PCR products were identical to the 5.8S rRNA gene, and nearly so for the flanking internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of B. dendrobatidis which confirmed the detection of chytrid fungus, and thus demonstrated the presence of this pathogen in populations of endangered species in Central Texas. These confirmations were obtained from nonconsumptive tail clippings which confirms the applicability of historically collected samples from other studies in the examination of the fungus across time.

  3. 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

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. Predator-prey relationships among larval dragonflies, salamanders, and frogs.

    PubMed

    Caldwell, J P; Thorp, J H; Jervey, T O

    1980-09-01

    Tadpoles of the barking tree frog, Hyla gratiosa, are abundant in spring and summer in some ponds and Carolina bays on the Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina. To determine how these tadpoles survive in the presence of predaceous salamander larvae, Ambystoma talpoideum, and larvae of an aeshnid dragonfly, Anax junius, we determined fields densities and sizes of the predators and the prey and conducted predation experiments in the laboratory. Tadpoles rapidly grow to a size not captured by Ambystoma, although Anax larvae can capture slightly larger tadpoles. Differing habitat preferences among the tadpoles and the two predator species probably aid in reducing predation pressure. Preliminary work indicates that the tadpoles may have an immobility response to an attack by a predator. In addition, the smallest, most vulnerable tadpoles have a distinctive color pattern which may function to disrupt the body outline and make them indiscernable to predators.

  7. 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.

  8. Positional identity of adult stem cells in salamander limb regeneration.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Anoop; Gates, Phillip B; Brockes, Jeremy P

    2007-01-01

    Limb regeneration in larval and adult salamanders proceeds from a mound of mesenchymal stem cells called the limb blastema. The blastema gives rise just to those structures distal to its level of origin, and this property of positional identity is reset to more proximal values by treatment with retinoic acid. We have identified a cell surface protein, called Prod1/CD59, which appears to be a determinant of proximodistal identity. Prod1 is expressed in an exponential gradient in an adult limb as determined by detection of both mRNA and immunoreactive protein. Prod1 protein is up-regulated after treatment of distal blastemas with RA and this is particularly marked in cells of the dermis. These cells have previously been implicated in pattern formation during limb regeneration.

  9. Mitochondrial Diseases

    MedlinePlus

    ... are defective, the cells do not have enough energy. The unused oxygen and fuel molecules build up in the cells and cause damage. The symptoms of mitochondrial disease can vary. It depends on how ... high energy needs, so muscular and neurological problems are common. ...

  10. Immunocytochemical analysis of photoreceptors in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jian; Wu, Samuel M

    2009-01-01

    In the tiger salamander retina, visual signals are transmitted to the inner retina via six morphologically distinct types of photoreceptors: large/small rods, large/small single cones, and double cones composed of principal and accessory members. The objective of this study was to determine the morphology of these photoreceptors and their synaptic interconnection with bipolar cells and horizontal cells in the outer plexiform layer (OPL). Here we showed that glutamate antibodies labeled all photoreceptors and recovering antibodies strongly labeled all cones and weakly labeled all rods. Antibodies against calbindin selectively stained accessory members of double cones. Antibodies against S-cone opsin stained small rods, a subpopulation of small single cones, and the outer segments of accessory double cones and a subtype of unidentified single cones. On average, large rods and small S-cone opsin positive rods accounted for 98.6% and 1.4% of all rods, respectively. Large/small cones, principle/accessory double cones, S-cone opsin positive small single cones, and S-cone opsin positive unidentified single cones accounted for about 66.9%, 23%, 4.5%, and 5.6% of the total cones, respectively. Moreover, the differential connection between rods/cones and bipolar/horizontal cells and the wide distribution of AMPA receptor subunits GluR2/3 and GluR4 at the rod/cone synapses were observed. These results provide anatomical evidence for the physiological findings that bipolar/horizontal cells in the salamander retina are driven by rod/cone inputs of different weights, and that AMPA receptors play an important role in glutamatergic neurotransmission at the first visual synapses. The different photoreceptors selectively contacting bipolar and horizontal cells support the idea that visual signals may be conveyed to the inner retina by different functional pathways in the outer retina.

  11. Individual performance in relation to cytonuclear discordance in a northern contact zone between long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) lineages.

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, Julie A; Jacobs, Chris G C; Irwin, Darren E

    2014-09-01

    Cytonuclear discordance in contact zones between related lineages is common, with mitochondrial clines often being displaced from clines in nuclear allele frequency. Proposed explanations for such a pattern include adaptive introgression of mtDNA or a neutral wake of mtDNA being left behind following hybrid zone movement. However, studies investigating these hypotheses are rare. Our previous survey of genetic variation in the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) highlighted a potential case of cytonuclear discordance between two lineages in western Canada. Here, we use additional markers and samples to clarify the extent of this discordance. We simultaneously assess the feeding performance of individuals in a common environment to test for an association between mitotype and individual performance. The genetic results confirm a general pattern of cytonuclear discordance in the focal region. However, we also observed more limited introgression of a diagnostic nuclear marker. Intriguingly, although there were differences in individual performance associated with the transition between mitotypes, these differences were not fully explained by mitotype. Instead, the lowest performance was observed in individuals demonstrating the greatest mismatch between mtDNA and all nuclear markers, suggesting the potential for cytonuclear incompatibilities to be acting. These results highlight the complexity of understanding the causes and consequences of mtDNA introgression and cytonuclear discordance in contact zones.

  12. COI is better than 16S rRNA for DNA barcoding Asiatic salamanders (Amphibia: Caudata: Hynobiidae).

    PubMed

    Xia, Yun; Gu, Hai-Feng; Peng, Rui; Chen, Qin; Zheng, Yu-Chi; Murphy, Robert W; Zeng, Xiao-Mao

    2012-01-01

    The 5' region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) is the standard marker for DNA barcoding. However, because COI tends to be highly variable in amphibians, sequencing is often challenging. Consequently, another mtDNA gene, 16S rRNA gene, is often advocated for amphibian barcoding. Herein, we directly compare the usefulness of COI and 16S in discriminating species of hynobiid salamanders using 130 individuals. Species identification and classification of these animals, which are endemic to Asia, are often based on morphology only. Analysis of Kimura 2-parameter genetic distances (K2P) documents the mean intraspecific variation for COI and 16S rRNA genes to be 1.4% and 0.3%, respectively. Whereas COI can always identify species, sometimes 16S cannot. Intra- and interspecific genetic divergences occasionally overlap in both markers, thus reducing the value of a barcoding gap to identify genera. Regardless, COI is the better DNA barcoding marker for hynobiids. In addition to the comparison of two potential markers, high levels of intraspecific divergence in COI (>5%) suggest that both Onychodactylus fischeri and Salamandrella keyserlingii might be composites of cryptic species.

  13. Range-wide phylogeography and conservation genetics of a narrowly endemic stream salamander, Pachyhynobius shangchengensis (Caudata, Hynobiidae): implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Pan, T; Wang, H; Hu, C-C; Shi, W-B; Zhao, K; Huang, X; Zhang, B-W

    2014-02-13

    The Shangcheng stout salamander (Pachyhynobius shangchengensis) is an endangered amphibian endemic to the Dabie Mountains, southeast China, and is currently threatened by habitat loss and illegal poaching. Here we used the mitochondrial DNA control region sequence (768 bp) to conduct a comprehensive investigation of genetic diversity, phylogeographic pattern, and demographic history of the species across its geographic distribution to assist its conservation. We concluded that the levels of genetic variation are relatively low in all four populations. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that the most likely phylogeographic pattern is [JGT] [KHJ] [TM, BYM]. Two distinct clades were identified in the phylogenetic tree of 28 haplotypes, corresponding to the two southern populations (TM, BYM) and two northern populations (JGT, KHJ). Significant population differentiation (FST) was detected among all populations. Among the four populations, historical demographic analyses (e.g., the g parameter, the Tajima D test, and the Fu Fs test) did not reveal definite information on population expansion except for the BYM population, which had undergone a strong population expansion event. Based on the analysis of a Bayesian skyline plot, the total population underwent a significant population fluctuation around 20 kya. This may have been triggered by the end of the last glacial maximum. In conclusion, the existence of three evolutionarily significant units (BMY-TM, KHJ, and JGT) and four management units (BMY, TM, KHJ, and JGT) is supported by our study.

  14. A connectionist central pattern generator for the aquatic and terrestrial gaits of a simulated salamander.

    PubMed

    Ijspeert, A J

    2001-05-01

    This article investigates the neural mechanisms underlying salamander locomotion, and develops a biologically plausible connectionist model of a central pattern generator capable of producing the typical aquatic and terrestrial gaits of the salamander. It investigates, in particular, what type of neural circuitry can produce and modulate the two locomotor programs identified within the salamander's spinal cord; namely, a traveling wave of neural activity for swimming and a standing wave for trotting. A two-dimensional biomechanical simulation of the salamander's body is developed whose muscle contraction is determined by the locomotion controller simulated as a leaky-integrator neural network. While the connectivity of the neural circuitry underlying locomotion in the salamander has not been decoded for the moment, this article presents the design of a neural circuit that has a general organization corresponding to that hypothesized by neurobiologists. In particular, the locomotion controller is based on a body central pattern generator (CPG) corresponding to a lamprey-like swimming controller, and is extended with a limb CPG for controlling the salamander's limbs. The complete controller is developed in three stages: first the development of segmental oscillators, second the development of intersegmental coupling for the making of a lamprey-like swimming CPG, and finally the development of the limb CPG and its coupling to the body CPG. A genetic algorithm is used to determine the parameters of the neural circuit for the different stages, given a high-level description of the desired state space trajectories of the different subnetworks. A controller is thus developed that can produce neural activities and locomotion gaits very similar to those observed in the real salamander. By varying the tonic (i.e. non-oscillating) excitation applied to the network, the speed, direction and type of gait can be varied.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    ... 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 Endangered..., California tiger salamander, Smith's blue butterfly, and Yadon's piperia on the property subject to...

  17. 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

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the California Tiger... potential for ``take'' of one Federally listed animal, the California tiger salamander. The applicant would... for the California tiger salamander into a new storage facility for portable generators within...

  18. 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...

  19. Copiea - excretion rates of salamaders

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Stoichiometry of excreta and excretion rates of a stream-dwelling plethodontid salamander in Cincinnati, OH, USAThis dataset is associated with the following publication:Milanovich , J., and M. Hopton. Stoichiometry of excreta in larval stream salamanders: implications regarding the ecological roles of salamanders. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, USA, 00, (2012).

  20. Stream water temperature limits occupancy of salamanders in mid-Atlantic protected areas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Wiewel, Amber N. M.; Rice, Karen C.

    2014-01-01

    Stream ecosystems are particularly sensitive to urbanization, and tolerance of water-quality parameters is likely important to population persistence of stream salamanders. Forecasted climate and landscape changes may lead to significant changes in stream flow, chemical composition, and temperatures in coming decades. Protected areas where landscape alterations are minimized will therefore become increasingly important for salamander populations. We surveyed 29 streams at three national parks in the highly urbanized greater metropolitan area of Washington, DC. We investigated relationships among water-quality variables and occupancy of three species of stream salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus, Eurycea bislineata, and Pseudotriton ruber). With the use of a set of site-occupancy models, and accounting for imperfect detection, we found that stream-water temperature limits salamander occupancy. There was substantial uncertainty about the effects of the other water-quality variables, although both specific conductance (SC) and pH were included in competitive models. Our estimates of occupancy suggest that temperature, SC, and pH have some importance in structuring stream salamander distribution.

  1. 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.

  2. Sequence capture and next-generation sequencing of ultraconserved elements in a large-genome salamander.

    PubMed

    Newman, Catherine E; Austin, Christopher C

    2016-12-01

    Amidst the rapid advancement in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology over the last few years, salamanders have been left behind. Salamanders have enormous genomes-up to 40 times the size of the human genome-and this poses challenges to generating NGS data sets of quality and quantity similar to those of other vertebrates. However, optimization of laboratory protocols is time-consuming and often cost prohibitive, and continued omission of salamanders from novel phylogeographic research is detrimental to species facing decline. Here, we use a salamander endemic to the southeastern United States, Plethodon serratus, to test the utility of an established protocol for sequence capture of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) in resolving intraspecific phylogeographic relationships and delimiting cryptic species. Without modifying the standard laboratory protocol, we generated a data set consisting of over 600 million reads for 85 P. serratus samples. Species delimitation analyses support recognition of seven species within P. serratus sensu lato, and all phylogenetic relationships among the seven species are fully resolved under a coalescent model. Results also corroborate previous data suggesting nonmonophyly of the Ouachita and Louisiana regions. Our results demonstrate that established UCE protocols can successfully be used in phylogeographic studies of salamander species, providing a powerful tool for future research on evolutionary history of amphibians and other organisms with large genomes.

  3. 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.

  4. Molecular characterization of major histocompatibility complex class II alleles in wild tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum).

    PubMed

    Bos, David H; DeWoody, J Andrew

    2005-11-01

    Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genes are usually among the most polymorphic in vertebrate genomes because of their critical role (antigen presentation) in immune response. Prior to this study, the MHC was poorly characterized in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum), but the congeneric axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is thought to have an unusual MHC. Most notably, axolotl class II genes lack allelic variation and possess a splice variant without a full peptide binding region (PBR). The axolotl is considered immunodeficient, but it is unclear how or to what extent MHC genetics and immunodeficiency are interrelated. To study the evolution of MHC genes in urodele amphibians, we describe for the first time an expressed polymorphic class II gene in wild tiger salamanders. We sequenced the PBR of a class II gene from wild A. tigrinum (n=33) and identified nine distinct alleles. Observed heterozygosity was 73%, and there were a total of 46 polymorphic sites, most of which correspond to amino acid positions that bind peptides. Patterns of nucleotide substitutions exhibit the signature of diversifying selection, but no recombination was detected. Not surprisingly, trans-species evolution of tiger salamander and axolotl class II alleles was apparent. We have no direct data on the immunodeficiency of tiger salamanders, but the levels of polymorphism in our study population should suffice to bind a variety of foreign peptides (unlike axolotls). Our tiger salamander data suggest that the monomorphism and immunodeficiencies associated with axolotl class II genes is a relic of their unique historical demography, not their phylogenetic legacy.

  5. 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

  6. Anatomy, function, and evolution of jaw and hyobranchial muscles in cryptobranchoid salamander larvae.

    PubMed

    Kleinteich, Thomas; Herzen, Julia; Beckmann, Felix; Matsui, Masafumi; Haas, Alexander

    2014-02-01

    Larval salamanders (Lissamphibia: Caudata) are known to be effective suction feeders in their aquatic environments, although they will eventually transform into terrestrial tongue feeding adults during metamorphosis. Early tetrapods may have had a similar biphasic life cycle and this makes larval salamanders a particularly interesting model to study the anatomy, function, development, and evolution of the feeding apparatus in terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we provide a description of the muscles that are involved in the feeding strike in salamander larvae of the Hynobiidae and compare them to larvae of the paedomorphic Cryptobranchidae. We provide a functional and evolutionary interpretation for the observed muscle characters. The cranial muscles in larvae from species of the Hynobiidae and Cryptobranchidae are generally very similar. Most notable are the differences in the presence of the m. hyomandibularis, a muscle that connects the hyobranchial apparatus with the lower jaw. We found this muscle only in Onychodactylus japonicus (Hynobiidae) but not in other hynobiid or cryptobranchid salamanders. Interestingly, the m. hyomandibularis in O. japonicus originates from the ceratobranchial I and not the ceratohyal, and thus exhibits what was previously assumed to be the derived condition. Finally, we applied a biomechanical model to simulate suction feeding in larval salamanders. We provide evidence that a flattened shape of the hyobranchial apparatus in its resting position is beneficial for a fast and successful suction feeding strike.

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

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2007-10-02

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Mitochondrial Disease: Possible Symptoms

    MedlinePlus

    ... Instagram Email Menu Understanding Mitochondrial Disease What is Mito? What is Mitochondrial Disease? Types of Mitochondrial Disease ... Program Frequently Asked Questions Newly Diagnosed Treatments & Therapies Mito 101 MitoFIRST Handbook Current Clinical Trials & Studies Community ...

  10. 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 ...

  11. Resource partitioning in two stream salamanders, Dicamptodon tenebrosus and Rhyacotriton cascadae, from the Oregon Cascade Mountains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cudmore, Wynn W.; Bury, R. Bruce

    2014-01-01

    We investigated the potential for resource partitioning between the Coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) and the Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae) by examining their diet and microhabitats in forest streams. Larval D. tenebrosus and R. cascadae fed primarily upon aquatic insect larvae. We found similar foods in larval and adult R. cascadae and combined these results. Dicamptodon larvae consumed ephemeropteran, plecopteran, and trichopteran larvae in about equal amounts whereas R. cascadae ate more trichopteran and less ephemeropteran larvae than D. tenebrosus. Diet of all R. cascadae overlapped more with smaller than larger sized D. tenebrosus larvae. Comparisons of diets with available foods indicated R. cascadae is more selective or more gape-limited in its feeding habits than D. tenebrosus larvae. The two salamanders differed in use of microhabitats in creeks, which may contribute to their diet differences.

  12. Heterogeneous vesicles in mucous epithelial cells of posterior esophagus of Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus).

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-25

    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 ultrastructural 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).

  13. Scoliosis in a tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) associated with encysted digenetic trematodes of the genus Clinostomum.

    PubMed

    Perpiñán, David; Garner, Michael M; Trupkiewicz, John G; Malarchik, Jennifer; Armstrong, Douglas L; Lucio-Forster, Araceli; Bowman, Dwight D

    2010-04-01

    A group of 202 tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) was brought into captivity due to habitat destruction. Half of these animals died, over two mo, showing generalized hemorrhages compatible with an infectious disease, but an etiologic agent was not determined. Encysted metacercarial stages of trematodes within the skeletal musculature, coelomic cavity, and subcutaneous space were additional necropsy findings. One salamander had scoliosis and multiple skin nodules. A radiograph showed no skeletal abnormality to explain the scoliosis; however, numerous round nodules were more radiodense than the surrounding tissue. A presumptive diagnosis of generalized trematodiasis was made, yet the salamander did not improve after a course of praziquantel and subsequently died. Necropsy revealed massive, encysted trematode infection. Histologic examination revealed marked multifocal intramuscular, subcutaneous, and coelomic trematodiasis with associated necrosis and inflammation. Based on gross morphology, the trematode was identified as a member of the genus Clinostomum.

  14. Susceptibility of the endangered California tiger salamander, Ambystoma californiense, to ranavirus infection.

    PubMed

    Picco, Angela M; Brunner, Jesse L; Collins, James P

    2007-04-01

    Emerging infectious diseases are implicated in the declines and extinctions of amphibians worldwide. Ranaviruses in the family Iridoviridae are a global concern and have caused amphibian die-offs in wild populations in North America, Europe, South America, and in commercial populations in Asia and South America. The movement of amphibians for bait, food, pets, and research provides a route for the introduction of ranaviruses into naive and potentially endangered species. In this report, we demonstrate that the California tiger salamander, Ambystoma californiense, is susceptible to Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV). This virus has not been previously reported in California tiger salamander, but observed mortality in experimentally infected animals suggests that California tiger salamander populations could be adversely affected by an ATV introduction.

  15. 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.

  16. Two new species of Salamanders, Genus Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae), from the Eastern Colombian Andes.

    PubMed

    Acevedo, Aldemar A; Wake, David B; Márquez, Roberto; Silva, Karen; Franco, Rosmery; Amézquita, Adolfo

    2013-01-25

    The salamander fauna of Colombia is very poorly known, probably because most research efforts have been devoted to anurans during the last two decades. Here, we describe two new species of the genus Bolitoglossa (Eladinea) from the eastern flank of the Eastern Colombian Andes (Cordillera Oriental), near the border with Venezuela. Bolitoglossa tamaense sp. nov. is distributed between 2000 to 2700 m.a.s.l. and Bolitoglossa leandrae sp. nov. is distributed in the low-lands at about 600 m. The new species are diagnosed by a combination of molecular (16S rRNA sequences), coloration, body size, and morphometric (number of maxillary and vomerine teeth and differences in foot webbing) characters. Both species face threats such as chytridiomycosis infections and habitat fragmentation that have already affected other sala-manders in the country. Thus, intensive field and museum work is needed to better document and perhaps protect the local salamander diversity.

  17. Fundamental differences in dedifferentiation and stem cell recruitment during skeletal muscle regeneration in two salamander species.

    PubMed

    Sandoval-Guzmán, Tatiana; Wang, Heng; Khattak, Shahryar; Schuez, Maritta; Roensch, Kathleen; Nacu, Eugeniu; Tazaki, Akira; Joven, Alberto; Tanaka, Elly M; Simon, András

    2014-02-06

    Salamanders regenerate appendages via a progenitor pool called the blastema. The cellular mechanisms underlying regeneration of muscle have been much debated but have remained unclear. Here we applied Cre-loxP genetic fate mapping to skeletal muscle during limb regeneration in two salamander species, Notophthalmus viridescens (newt) and Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl). Remarkably, we found that myofiber dedifferentiation is an integral part of limb regeneration in the newt, but not in axolotl. In the newt, myofiber fragmentation results in proliferating, PAX7(-) mononuclear cells in the blastema that give rise to the skeletal muscle in the new limb. In contrast, myofibers in axolotl do not generate proliferating cells, and do not contribute to newly regenerated muscle; instead, resident PAX7(+) cells provide the regeneration activity. Our results therefore show significant diversity in limb muscle regeneration mechanisms among salamanders and suggest that multiple strategies may be feasible for inducing regeneration in other species, including mammals.

  18. Salamander limb regeneration involves the activation of a multipotent skeletal muscle satellite cell population.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Jamie I; Lööf, Sara; He, Pingping; Simon, András

    2006-01-30

    In contrast to mammals, salamanders can regenerate complex structures after injury, including entire limbs. A central question is whether the generation of progenitor cells during limb regeneration and mammalian tissue repair occur via separate or overlapping mechanisms. Limb regeneration depends on the formation of a blastema, from which the new appendage develops. Dedifferentiation of stump tissues, such as skeletal muscle, precedes blastema formation, but it was not known whether dedifferentiation involves stem cell activation. We describe a multipotent Pax7+ satellite cell population located within the skeletal muscle of the salamander limb. We demonstrate that skeletal muscle dedifferentiation involves satellite cell activation and that these cells can contribute to new limb tissues. Activation of salamander satellite cells occurs in an analogous manner to how the mammalian myofiber mobilizes stem cells during skeletal muscle tissue repair. Thus, limb regeneration and mammalian tissue repair share common cellular and molecular programs. Our findings also identify satellite cells as potential targets in promoting mammalian blastema formation.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-26

    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.

  20. 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

  1. Where are we in understanding salamander locomotion: biological and robotic perspectives on kinematics.

    PubMed

    Karakasiliotis, Konstantinos; Schilling, Nadja; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Ijspeert, Auke Jan

    2013-10-01

    Salamanders have captured the interest of biologists and roboticists for decades because of their ability to locomote in different environments and their resemblance to early representatives of tetrapods. In this article, we review biological and robotic studies on the kinematics (i.e., angular profiles of joints) of salamander locomotion aiming at three main goals: (i) to give a clear view of the kinematics, currently available, for each body part of the salamander while moving in different environments (i.e., terrestrial stepping, aquatic stepping, and swimming), (ii) to examine what is the status of our current knowledge and what remains unclear, and (iii) to discuss how much robotics and modeling have already contributed and will potentially contribute in the future to such studies.

  2. 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.

  3. Fictive rhythmic motor patterns produced by the tail spinal cord in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Charrier, V; Cabelguen, J-M

    2013-01-01

    Most investigations into the role of the body axis in vertebrate locomotion have focused on the trunk, although in most tetrapods, the tail also plays an active role. In salamanders, the tail contributes to propulsion during swimming and to dynamic balance and maneuverability during terrestrial locomotion. The aim of the present study was to obtain information concerning the neural mechanisms that produce tail muscle contractions during locomotion in the salamander Pleurodeles waltlii. We recorded the ventral root activities in in vitro spinal cord preparations in which locomotor-like activity was induced via bath application of N-methyl-d-aspartate (20μM) and d-serine (10μM). Recordings showed that the tail spinal cord is capable of producing propagated waves of motor activity that alternate between the left and right sides. Lesion experiments further revealed that the tail rhythmogenic network is composed of a double chain of identical hemisegmental oscillators. Finally, using spinal cord preparations bathed in a chamber partitioned into two pools, we revealed efficient short-distance coupling between the trunk and tail networks. Together, our results demonstrate the existence of a pattern generator for rhythmic tail movements in the salamander and show that the global architecture of the tail network is similar to that previously proposed for the mid-trunk locomotor network in the salamander. Our findings further support the view that salamanders can control their trunk and tail independently during stepping movements. The relevance of our results in relation to the generation of tail muscle contractions in freely moving salamanders is discussed.

  4. 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

  5. Olfactory receptor gene expression in tiger salamander olfactory epithelium.

    PubMed

    Marchand, James E; Yang, Xinhai; Chikaraishi, Dona; Krieger, Jurgen; Breer, Heinz; Kauer, John S

    2004-06-28

    Physiological studies of odor-elicited responses from the olfactory epithelium and bulb in the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, have elucidated a number of features of olfactory coding that appear to be conserved across several vertebrate species. This animal model has provided an accessible in vivo system for observing individual and ensemble olfactory responses to odorant stimulation using biochemical, neurophysiological, and behavioral assays. In this paper we have complemented these studies by characterizing 35 candidate odorant receptor genes. These receptor sequences are similar to those of the large families of olfactory receptors found in mammals and fish. In situ hybridization, using RNA probes to 20 of these sequences, demonstrates differential distributions of labeled cells across the extent and within the depth of the olfactory epithelium. The distributions of cells labeled with probes to different receptors show spatially restricted patterns that are generally localized to different degrees in medial-lateral and anterior-posterior directions. The patterns of receptor expression in the ventral olfactory epithelium (OE) are mirrored in the dorsal OE. We present a hypothesis as to how the sensory neuron populations expressing different receptor types responding to a particular odorant may relate to the distribution patterns of epithelial and bulbar responses previously characterized using single-unit and voltage-sensitive dye recording methods.

  6. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans is the predominant chytrid fungus in Vietnamese salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Laking, Alexandra E.; Ngo, Hai Ngoc; Pasmans, Frank; Martel, An; Nguyen, Tao Thien

    2017-01-01

    The amphibian chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), pose a major threat to amphibian biodiversity. Recent evidence suggests Southeast Asia as a potential cradle for both fungi, which likely resulted in widespread host-pathogen co-existence. We sampled 583 salamanders from 8 species across Vietnam in 55 locations for Bsal and Bd, determined scaled mass index as a proxy for fitness and collected environmental data. Bsal was found within 14 of the 55 habitats (2 of which it was detected in 2013), in 5 salamandrid species, with a prevalence of 2.92%. The globalized pandemic lineage of Bd was found within one pond on one species with a prevalence of 0.69%. Combined with a complete lack of correlation between infection and individual body condition and absence of indication of associated disease, this suggests low level pathogen endemism and Bsal and Bd co-existence with Vietnamese salamandrid populations. Bsal was more widespread than Bd, and occurs at temperatures higher than tolerated by the type strain, suggesting a wider thermal niche than currently known. Therefore, this study provides support for the hypothesis that these chytrid fungi may be endemic to Asia and that species within this region may act as a disease reservoir. PMID:28287614

  7. Infection of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) with Ichthyophonus-like organisms in Virginia.

    PubMed

    Ware, Joy L; Viverette, Cathy; Kleopfer, John D; Pletcher, Leeanna; Massey, Davis; Wright, Anne

    2008-01-01

    Ichthyophonus-like organisms were found in two free-ranging adult spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) captured within two different vernal ponds in the Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences in Charles City County, Virginia. Histopathologic examination of necropsied specimens revealed large spores, often enclosed by granulomas. These enclosed spores resembled those caused by the fish pathogen Ichthyophonus hoeferi. One salamander displayed an externally visible large swelling beneath the jaws. The other lacked macroscopic abnormalities, but histologic sections of ventral muscle revealed early-stage Ichthyophonus-like organisms and minimal granulomatous reactions. This is the first report of Ichthyophonus-like infection of Ambystoma maculatum in Virginia.

  8. From swimming to walking with a salamander robot driven by a spinal cord model.

    PubMed

    Ijspeert, Auke Jan; Crespi, Alessandro; Ryczko, Dimitri; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie

    2007-03-09

    The transition from aquatic to terrestrial locomotion was a key development in vertebrate evolution. We present a spinal cord model and its implementation in an amphibious salamander robot that demonstrates how a primitive neural circuit for swimming can be extended by phylogenetically more recent limb oscillatory centers to explain the ability of salamanders to switch between swimming and walking. The model suggests neural mechanisms for modulation of velocity, direction, and type of gait that are relevant for all tetrapods. It predicts that limb oscillatory centers have lower intrinsic frequencies than body oscillatory centers, and we present biological data supporting this.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Effect of arsenic on p53 mutation and occurrence of teratogenic salamanders: their potential as ecological indicators for arsenic contamination.

    PubMed

    Chang, Jin-Soo; Gu, Man Bock; Kim, Kyoung-Woong

    2009-05-01

    The p53 mutation in salamanders can be used as an indicator of arsenic contamination. The influence of arsenic exposure was studied on mutation of tumor suppressor gene in salamanders collected from several As-contaminated mine areas in Korea. Salamander eggs and larvae were exposed to arsenic in a toxicity test, and teratogenic salamanders found in heavy metal- and As-contaminated water from As-Bi mines were evaluated using PCR-SSCP to determine if they would be useful as an ecological indicator species. Changes in amino acids were shown to have occurred as a result of an arsenic-accumulating event that occurred after the DNA damage. In addition, both of the Hynobius leechii exposed groups were primarily affected by forms of skin damage, changes in the lateral tail/dorsal flexure and/or abnormality teratogenesis. Single-base sense mutation in codons 346 (AAG: Lys to ATG: Met), 224 (TTT: Phe to TTA: Leu), 211 (ATG: Met to AAG: Lys), 244 (TTT: Phe to TTTG: insertion), 245 (Glu GAG to Gln CAG) and 249 (TGT Cys to TGA stop) of the p53 gene were simultaneously found in mutated salamanders. Based on the results of our data illustrating the effect of arsenic exposure on the p53 mutation of salamanders in arsenic-contaminated mine areas, these mutated salamanders can be used as potential ecological indicators in the arsenic-contaminated ecosystems.

  12. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphism in mitochondrial myopathy.

    PubMed

    Holt, I J; Harding, A E; Morgan-Hughes, J A

    1988-05-01

    In order to test the hypothesis that mitochondrial myopathy may be caused by mutation of the mitochondrial (mt) genome, restriction fragment length polymorphism in leucocyte mt DNA has been studied in 38 patients with mitochondrial myopathy, 44 of their unaffected matrilineal relatives, and 35 normal control subjects. Previously unreported mt DNA polymorphisms were identified in both patients and controls. No differences in restriction fragment patterns were observed between affected and unaffected individuals in the same maternal line, and there was no evidence of major deletion of mt DNA in patients. This study provides no positive evidence of mitochondrial inheritance in mitochondrial myopathy, but this has not been excluded.

  13. Responses of Eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to chemical cues of prey presented in soluble and volatile forms.

    PubMed

    Telfer, A C; Laberge, F

    2013-04-10

    Terrestrial salamanders are able to detect prey items using chemical cues, but the nature of the cues involved is uncertain. This study aimed to tease apart the roles of the soluble and volatile components of prey cues detected by Eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus), assuming the likelihood that these different components are respectively detected by the vomeronasal (accessory) and main olfactory organs. Wild-caught salamanders were exposed to control or soluble and volatile cricket cues in two different behavioural assays conducted in the laboratory. The first series of assays focused on localized presentation of soluble cues on the substrate, and the second on point sources of volatile cues delivered through plastic tubes. Room temperature was varied across experiments. Salamanders increased chemoinvestigation of the substrate via nosetapping when soluble prey cues were distributed non-uniformly on the substrate. In the warmer of two temperatures tested, salamanders additionally showed a spatial preference for location of soluble cue deposition. Attraction to a point source of volatile cues was not evident when examining the responses of salamanders grouped together; however, investigation of the volatile point source was significantly correlated with side preference only when both soluble cues and a volatile point source were present. The latter suggests that a subset of salamanders were attracted to the point source of volatile cues in the presence of soluble cues on the substrate. This study indicates that soluble prey cues alone are sufficient to trigger salamander foraging behaviour, and that temperature influences this foraging response. It supports the notion that the vomeronasal system plays an important role in prey detection, but suggests that volatile cues are also investigated by some salamanders when soluble prey cues have been detected.

  14. Landscape genetics of the blotched tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum).

    PubMed

    Spear, Stephen F; Peterson, Charles R; Matocq, Marjorie D; Storfer, Andrew

    2005-07-01

    The field of landscape genetics has great potential to identify habitat features that influence population genetic structure. To identify landscape correlates of genetic differentiation in a quantitative fashion, we developed a novel approach using geographical information systems analysis. We present data on blotched tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum) from 10 sites across the northern range of Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, USA. We used eight microsatellite loci to analyse population genetic structure. We tested whether landscape variables, including topographical distance, elevation, wetland likelihood, cover type and number of river and stream crossings, were correlated with genetic subdivision (F(ST)). We then compared five hypothetical dispersal routes with a straight-line distance model using two approaches: (i) partial Mantel tests using Akaike's information criterion scores to evaluate model robustness and (ii) the BIOENV procedure, which uses a Spearman rank correlation to determine the combination of environmental variables that best fits the genetic data. Overall, gene flow appears highly restricted among sites, with a global F(ST) of 0.24. While there is a significant isolation-by-distance pattern, incorporating landscape variables substantially improved the fit of the model (from an r2 of 0.3 to 0.8) explaining genetic differentiation. It appears that gene flow follows a straight-line topographic route, with river crossings and open shrub habitat correlated with lower F(ST) and thus, decreased differentiation, while distance and elevation difference appear to increase differentiation. This study demonstrates a general approach that can be used to determine the influence of landscape variables on population genetic structure.

  15. Glycinergic synaptic inputs to bipolar cells in the salamander retina

    PubMed Central

    Maple, Bruce R; Wu, Samuel M

    1998-01-01

    Glycine activated strychnine-sensitive chloride conductances at both the dendrites and the axonal telodendria of most bipolar cells in the salamander retina. The chloride equilibrium potential of bipolar cells was found to be negative to -50 mV, indicating that glycinergic synapses on bipolar cells are inhibitory. Some bipolar cells exhibited discrete, strychnine-sensitive, chloride-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). These were elicited by focal application of glutamate at the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Glycinergic synapses were localized using simultaneous focal application of calcium to retinal slices bathed in calcium-free media. Both dendritic and telodendritic glycinergic IPSCs were observed. The decay of the telodendritic IPSCs was well fitted by a single exponential with a time constant of 17.7 ± 8.7 ms. Similar kinetics were observed for dendritic IPSCs in some cells, but in one class of on-centre bipolar cell the decay of the dendritic IPSCs was better fitted by a sum of two exponentials with time constants 9.9 ± 4.3 and 51.3 ± 24.3 ms. The dendritic IPSCs were best driven by application of glutamate at the distal IPL (the off sublamina), while the telodendritic IPSCs were driven best by application near the telodendria. These results suggest that bipolar cell dendrites receive inhibitory glycinergic inputs from interplexiform cells that are excited by off-centre bipolar cells, whereas bipolar cell telodendria receive glycinergic amacrine cell inputs that are antagonistic to the photoreceptor inputs. Both inputs could be elicited in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX), but the dendritic IPSCs were sometimes abolished by TTX, suggesting that sodium-dependent spikes play an important role in the transmission of interplexiform cell signals to the outer plexiform layer. PMID:9503334

  16. Immunolocalisation of nitric oxide synthase isoforms in the epidermis of the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum.

    PubMed

    Zaccone, Giacomo; Mauceri, Angela; Maisano, Maria; Fasulo, Salvatore

    2006-01-01

    A. tigrinum: Immunoreactivity for isoforms of nitric oxidase synthase is found in the flash cells and outer-deep epidermal cell layers of the tiger salamander A. tigrinum. Despite the absence of physiological data we assume NO may be lumped together as cytocrine regulators in the amphibian epidermis.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  18. 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

    2015-11-20

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 77 FR 36287 - Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the California Tiger Salamander, Calaveras...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-06-18

    ... take permit for covered activities within 109 acres of grassland associated with the construction of 15... proposed subdivision, the on-site upland grassland habitat would not receive protection, and no take would... upland grassland habitat for the California tiger salamander. To mitigate for these effects,...

  1. Sal-Site: integrating new and existing ambystomatid salamander research and informational resources.

    PubMed

    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

    2005-12-16

    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 http://www.ambystoma.org.

  2. Pathological and microbiological findings from mortality of the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus).

    PubMed

    Meng, Yan; Ma, Jie; Jiang, Nan; Zeng, Ling-Bing; Xiao, Han-Bing

    2014-06-01

    The Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus, is a nationally protected and cultured species in China. Recently, a severe epizootic occurred in cultured Chinese giant salamanders in Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Zhejiang provinces of China, causing substantial economic losses. The typical clinical signs of diseased larval animals were jaw and abdominal swelling and subcutaneous hemorrhaging. Diseased adult animals exhibited skin hemorrhages, ulceration of the hind limbs, and multiple hemorrhagic spots in the visceral organs. Histopathological observation indicated tissue necrosis and cytoplasmic inclusions in the spleen, liver and kidney, suggestive of viral disease. A viral agent was isolated from affected tissues in cell culture. The virus was determined to be pathogenic after experimental infection. Electron microscopy revealed iridovirus-like virions with a size of 140-180 nm in diameter inside the kidney of naturally infected animals and in cell culture. The major capsid protein (MCP) of the virus exhibited 98-99 % sequence identity to ranaviruses. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the virus belonged to the genus Ranavirus. Comparative analysis of the MCP gene sequence with those of other viruses previously isolated from Chinese giant salamanders revealed that these isolates were highly similar, although a few variations were observed. The virus was preliminarily named Chinese giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV).

  3. 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…

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Jung, Robin E.; Rice, Karen 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.

  5. A single nucleotide polymorphism assay for the identification of unisexual Ambystoma salamanders.

    PubMed

    Greenwald, Katherine R; Lisle Gibbs, H

    2012-03-01

    Unisexual (all female) salamanders in the genus Ambystoma are animals of variable ploidy (2N-5N) that reproduce via a unique system of 'leaky' gynogenesis. As a result, these salamanders have a diverse array of nuclear genome combinations from up to five sexual species: the blue-spotted (A. laterale), Jefferson (A. jeffersonianum), smallmouth (A. texanum), tiger (A. tigrinum) and streamside (A. barbouri) salamanders. Identifying the genome complement, or biotype, is a critical first step in addressing a broad range of ecological and evolutionary questions about these salamanders. Previous work relied upon genome-related differences in allele size distributions for specific microsatellite loci, but overlap in these distributions among different genomes makes definitive identification and ploidy determination in unisexuals difficult or impossible. Here, we develop the first single nucleotide polymorphism assay for the identification of unisexual biotypes, based on species-specific nucleotide polymorphisms in noncoding DNA loci. Tests with simulated and natural unisexual DNA samples show that this method can accurately identify genome complement and estimate ploidy, making this a valuable tool for assessing the genome composition of unisexual samples.

  6. Coexistence in streams: Do source-sink dynamics allow salamanders to persist with fish predators?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sepulveda, A.J.; Lowe, W.H.

    2011-01-01

    Theory suggests that source-sink dynamics can allow coexistence of intraguild predators and prey, but empirical evidence for this coexistence mechanism is limited. We used capture-mark-recapture, genetic methods, and stable isotopes to test whether source-sink dynamics promote coexistence between stream fishes, the intraguild predator, and stream salamanders (Dicamptodon aterrimus), the intraguild prey. Salamander populations from upstream reaches without fish were predicted to maintain or supplement sink populations in downstream reaches with fish. We found instead that downstream reaches with fish were not sinks even though fish consumed salamander larvae-apparent survival, recruitment, and population growth rate did not differ between upstream and downstream reaches. There was also no difference between upstream and downstream reaches in net emigration. We did find that D. aterrimus moved frequently along streams, but believe that this is a response to seasonal habitat changes rather than intraguild predation. Our study provides empirical evidence that local-scale mechanisms are more important than dispersal dynamics to coexistence of streams salamanders and fish. More broadly, it shows the value of empirical data on dispersal and gene flow for distinguishing between local and spatial mechanisms of coexistence. ?? 2011 Springer-Verlag.

  7. 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...

  8. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in fully aquatic salamanders from Southeastern North America.

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Coexistence in streams: do source-sink dynamics allow salamanders to persist with fish predators?

    PubMed

    Sepulveda, Adam J; Lowe, Winsor H

    2011-08-01

    Theory suggests that source-sink dynamics can allow coexistence of intraguild predators and prey, but empirical evidence for this coexistence mechanism is limited. We used capture-mark-recapture, genetic methods, and stable isotopes to test whether source-sink dynamics promote coexistence between stream fishes, the intraguild predator, and stream salamanders (Dicamptodon aterrimus), the intraguild prey. Salamander populations from upstream reaches without fish were predicted to maintain or supplement sink populations in downstream reaches with fish. We found instead that downstream reaches with fish were not sinks even though fish consumed salamander larvae-apparent survival, recruitment, and population growth rate did not differ between upstream and downstream reaches. There was also no difference between upstream and downstream reaches in net emigration. We did find that D. aterrimus moved frequently along streams, but believe that this is a response to seasonal habitat changes rather than intraguild predation. Our study provides empirical evidence that local-scale mechanisms are more important than dispersal dynamics to coexistence of streams salamanders and fish. More broadly, it shows the value of empirical data on dispersal and gene flow for distinguishing between local and spatial mechanisms of coexistence.

  11. A reference transcriptome and inferred proteome for the salamander Notophthalmus viridescens.

    PubMed

    Abdullayev, Ilgar; Kirkham, Matthew; Björklund, Åsa K; Simon, András; Sandberg, Rickard

    2013-05-01

    Salamanders have a remarkable capacity to regenerate complex tissues, such as limbs and brain, and are therefore an important comparative model system for regenerative medicine. Despite these unique properties among adult vertebrates, the genomic information for amphibians in general, and salamanders in particular, is scarce. Here, we used massive parallel sequencing to reconstruct a de novo reference transcriptome of the red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) containing 118,893 transcripts with a N50 length of 2016 nts. Comparisons to other vertebrates revealed a newt transcriptome that is comparable in size and characteristics to well-annotated vertebrate transcriptomes. Identification of putative open reading frames (ORFs) enabled us to infer a comprehensive proteome, including the annotation of 19,903 newt proteins. We used the identified domain architectures (DAs) to assign ORFs phylogenetic positions, which also revealed putative salamander specific proteins. The reference transcriptome and inferred proteome of the red spotted newt will facilitate the use of systematic genomic technologies for regeneration studies in salamanders and enable evolutionary analyses of vertebrate regeneration at the molecular level.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Salamander retina phospholipids and their localization by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry at cellular size resolution.

    PubMed

    Roy, Michael C; Nakanishi, Hiroki; Takahashi, Kazuteru; Nakanishi, Setsuko; Kajihara, Shigeki; Hayasaka, Takahiro; Setou, Mitsutoshi; Ogawa, Kiyoshi; Taguchi, Ryo; Naito, Takayuki

    2011-03-01

    Salamander large cells facilitated identification and localization of lipids by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry. Salamander retina lipid extract showed similarity with rodent retina lipid extract in phospholipid content and composition. Like rodent retina section, distinct layer distributions of phospholipids were observed in the salamander retina section. Phosphatidylcholines (PCs) composing saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (PC 32:0, PC 32:1, and PC 34:1) were detected mainly in the outer and inner plexiform layers (OPL and IPL), whereas PCs containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PC 36:4, PC 38:6, and PC 40:6) composed the inner segment (IS) and outer segment (OS). The presence of PCs containing polyunsaturated fatty acids in the OS layer implied that these phospholipids form flexible lipid bilayers, which facilitate phototransduction process occurring in the rhodopsin rich OS layer. Distinct distributions and relative signal intensities of phospholipids also indicated their relative abundance in a particular cell or a cell part. Using salamander large cells, a single cell level localization and identification of biomolecules could be achieved by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry.

  15. 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

  16. Immunological responses and protection in Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus immunized with inactivated iridovirus.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wenzhi; Xu, Jin; Ma, Jie; LaPatra, Scott E; Meng, Yan; Fan, Yuding; Zhou, Yong; Yang, Xin; Zeng, Lingbing

    2014-12-05

    Chinese giant salamander hemorrhage is a newly emerged infectious disease in China and has caused huge economic losses. The causative pathogen has been identified as the giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV). In this study, the immunological responses and protection in Chinese giant salamander immunized with β-propiolactone inactivated GSIV are reported. Red and white blood cell counting and classification, phagocytic activity, neutralizing antibody titration, immune-related gene expression and determination of the relative percent survival were evaluated after vaccination. The red and white blood cell counts showed that the numbers of erythrocytes and leukocytes in the peripheral blood of immunized Chinese giant salamanders increased significantly on days 4 and 7 post-injection (P<0.01). Additionally, the differential leukocyte count of monocytes and neutrophils were significantly different compared to the control group (P<0.01); the percentage of lymphocytes was 70.45±7.52% at day 21. The phagocytic percentage and phagocytic index was 38.78±4.33% and 3.75±0.52, respectively, at day 4 post-immunization which were both significantly different compared to the control group (P<0.01). The serum neutralizing antibody titer increased at day 14 post-immunization and reached the highest titer (341±9.52) at day 21. The quantitative PCR analysis revealed that the immunization significantly up-regulated the expression of immune related genes TLR-9 and MyD88 the first two weeks after immunization. The challenge test conducted at day 30 post-injection demonstrated that the immunized group produced a relative survival of 72%. These results indicate that the inactivated GSIV could elicit significant non-specific and specific immunological responses in Chinese giant salamander that resulted in significant protection against GSIV induced disease.

  17. 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.

  18. Ecological resistance surfaces predict fine-scale genetic differentiation in a terrestrial woodland salamander.

    PubMed

    Peterman, William E; Connette, Grant M; Semlitsch, Raymond D; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-05-01

    Landscape genetics has seen tremendous advances since its introduction, but parameterization and optimization of resistance surfaces still poses significant challenges. Despite increased availability and resolution of spatial data, few studies have integrated empirical data to directly represent ecological processes as genetic resistance surfaces. In our study, we determine the landscape and ecological factors affecting gene flow in the western slimy salamander (Plethodon albagula). We used field data to derive resistance surfaces representing salamander abundance and rate of water loss through combinations of canopy cover, topographic wetness, topographic position, solar exposure and distance from ravine. These ecologically explicit composite surfaces directly represent an ecological process or physiological limitation of our organism. Using generalized linear mixed-effects models, we optimized resistance surfaces using a nonlinear optimization algorithm to minimize model AIC. We found clear support for the resistance surface representing the rate of water loss experienced by adult salamanders in the summer. Resistance was lowest at intermediate levels of water loss and higher when the rate of water loss was predicted to be low or high. This pattern may arise from the compensatory movement behaviour of salamanders through suboptimal habitat, but also reflects the physiological limitations of salamanders and their sensitivity to extreme environmental conditions. Our study demonstrates that composite representations of ecologically explicit processes can provide novel insight and can better explain genetic differentiation than ecologically implicit landscape resistance surfaces. Additionally, our study underscores the fact that spatial estimates of habitat suitability or abundance may not serve as adequate proxies for describing gene flow, as predicted abundance was a poor predictor of genetic differentiation.

  19. 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.

  20. Low levels of LTR retrotransposon deletion by ectopic recombination in the gigantic genomes of salamanders.

    PubMed

    Frahry, Matthew Blake; Sun, Cheng; Chong, Rebecca A; Mueller, Rachel Lockridge

    2015-02-01

    Across the tree of life, species vary dramatically in nuclear genome size. Mutations that add or remove sequences from genomes-insertions or deletions, or indels-are the ultimate source of this variation. Differences in the tempo and mode of insertion and deletion across taxa have been proposed to contribute to evolutionary diversity in genome size. Among vertebrates, most of the largest genomes are found within the salamanders, an amphibian clade with genome sizes ranging from ~14 to ~120 Gb. Salamander genomes have been shown to experience slower rates of DNA loss through small (i.e., <30 bp) deletions than do other vertebrate genomes. However, no studies have addressed DNA loss from salamander genomes resulting from larger deletions. Here, we focus on one type of large deletion-ectopic-recombination-mediated removal of LTR retrotransposon sequences. In ectopic recombination, double-strand breaks are repaired using a "wrong" (i.e., ectopic, or non-allelic) template sequence-typically another locus of similar sequence. When breaks occur within the LTR portions of LTR retrotransposons, ectopic-recombination-mediated repair can produce deletions that remove the internal transposon sequence and the equivalent of one of the two LTR sequences. These deletions leave a signature in the genome-a solo LTR sequence. We compared levels of solo LTRs in the genomes of four salamander species with levels present in five vertebrates with smaller genomes. Our results demonstrate that salamanders have low levels of solo LTRs, suggesting that ectopic-recombination-mediated deletion of LTR retrotransposons occurs more slowly than in other vertebrates with smaller genomes.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. From species divergence to population structure: a multimarker approach on the most basal lineage of Salamandridae, the spectacled salamanders (genus Salamandrina) from Italy.

    PubMed

    Hauswaldt, J Susanne; Angelini, Claudio; Gehara, Marcelo; Benavides, Edgar; Polok, Andy; Steinfartz, Sebastian

    2014-01-01

    The Apennine Peninsula is one of Europe's main glacial refugial areas and harbors a large number of lineages and species. Here, a pattern of higher genetic diversity in the south compared to that of the north is characteristic of most vertebrates; however, most studies that have produced these results have relied only on inferences based on mitochondrial DNA. The spectacled salamanders (genus Salamandrina) are endemic to the Apennine Peninsula and have diverged into two sibling species: S. terdigitata (in the south) and S. perspicillata (in the north), presumably in the late Miocene or early Pliocene. By sequencing one mitochondrial (cytb) and two nuclear genes (RAG1 and POMC) and genotyping 10 microsatellite loci, we traced the evolution of these sibling species from their divergence to their contemporary population structure at a fine scale. Using a multilocus coalescent-based approach, we estimated the temporal divergence of both species at approximately 2.25 mya (million years ago), which, hence, is much younger than previous estimates. The classical pattern of high genetic diversity in the south and lower diversity in the north was confirmed only for some markers, and the demographic histories of the two species differed substantially. Whereas S. perspicillata (north) expanded from a single major refugium in the center of the Apennine Peninsula, populations of S. terdigitata (south) persisted through cooler periods in multiple refugia. Further, the fine-scale population genetic structure of 16 S. perspicillata populations revealed significant genetic differentiation, even across short geographic distances. The results of our study stress that for a better understanding of phylogeographic patterns and past demographic processes, both mitochondrial and multiple nuclear loci should be analyzed to avoid gene-specific, and possibly biased results.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Mitochondrial inheritance in a mitochondrially mediated disease.

    PubMed

    Egger, J; Wilson, J

    1983-07-21

    Mendelian inheritance involves the transmission to successive generations of DNA contained in genes in the nucleus, but DNA is also contained in mitochondria, where it is believed to be responsible for the encoding of certain mitochondrial enzymes. Since nearly all mitochondrial DNA is maternally transmitted, one might expect a nonmendelian pattern of inheritance in mitochondrial cytopathy, a syndrome in which there are abnormalities in mitochondrial structure and deficiencies in a variety of mitochondrial enzymes. We studied the pedigrees of 6 affected families whose members we had examined personally and of 24 families described in the literature. In 27 families, exclusively maternal transmission occurred; in 3 there was also paternal transmission in one generation. Altogether, 51 mothers but only 3 fathers had transmitted the condition. These results are consistent with mitochondrial transmission of mitochondrial cytopathy; the inheritance and enzyme defects of mitochondrial cytopathy can be considered in the light of recent evidence that subunits of respiratory-enzyme complexes are encoded solely by mitochondrial DNA. The occasional paternal transmission may be explained if certain enzyme subunits that are encoded by nuclear DNA are affected.

  8. 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.

  9. A New Species of Eimeria (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum (Caudata: Ambystomatidae), from northern Louisiana.

    PubMed

    McAllister, Chris T; Upton, Steve J

    2008-06-01

    Between December 2002 and June 2004, 10 marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, were examined for coccidian parasites. Salamanders were collected in Bradley (n = 2), Little River (n = 1), Miller (n = 1), and Sevier (n = 1) Counties, Arkansas; Webster Parish, Louisiana (n = 2); and Bowie (n = 1) and Nacogdoches (n = 2) Counties, Texas. Two of 10 (20%) A. opacum from Louisiana harbored an undescribed species of Eimeria. Oocysts of Eimeria trauthi n. sp. were ellipsoidal, 36.6 x 33.1 (33-40 x 29-37) microm, with a thin, single-layered wall; shape index 1.1. Polar granule(s) and micropyle were absent. Oocyst residuum was composed of hundreds of loosely packed homogenous granules of various sizes enclosing a vacuole. Sporocysts were elongate-ellipsoidal, 20.8 x 8.1 (19-22 x 7-9) microm; shape index 2.6. Sporocyst residuum was spherical and composed of a cluster of granules often membrane-bound. This is the first time a coccidium has been reported from an amphibian species in Louisiana and the second time a coccidium has been described from this salamander host. In addition, the following 26 salamanders from various counties in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were surveyed during the study period and were negative for coccidia: Ambystomatidae, 4 spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and 7 mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum); Cryptobranchidae, 4 Ozark hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi); Plethodontidae, 6 spotted dusky salamanders (Desmognathus conanti) and 3 many-ribbed salamanders (Eurycea multiplicata multiplicata); and Salamandridae, 2 central newts (Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis).

  10. Taxonomic revision of the moss salamander Nototriton barbouri (Schmidt (Caudata: Plethodontidae), with description of two new species from the Cordillera Nombre de Dios, Honduras.

    PubMed

    Townsend, Josiah H

    2016-11-24

    Moss salamanders (genus Nototriton) are represented in northern Central America by nine putative species: N. barbouri, N. brodiei, N. lignicola, N. limnospectator, N. mime, N. picucha, N. saslaya, N. stuarti, and N. tomamorum. I estimate the phylogenetic relationships for these species based on data from three mitochondrial gene fragments (16S, cytochrome b, and COI), and compare morphological variation among putative taxa. As evidenced here and in previous studies, the taxon N. barbouri is paraphyletic with respect to populations from the Cordillera Nombre de Dios in northern Honduras. I restrict this taxon to populations from the Sierra de Sulaco in central Yoro, Honduras, and describe two new species from the Cordillera Nombre de Dios.

  11. 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.

  12. Identification of a non-mammalian leptin-like gene: characterization and expression in the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

    PubMed

    Boswell, Timothy; Dunn, Ian C; Wilson, Peter W; Joseph, Nerine; Burt, David W; Sharp, Peter J

    2006-04-01

    Leptin is well established as a multifunctional cytokine in mammals. However, little is known about the evolution of the leptin gene in other vertebrates. A recently published set of ESTs from the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) contains a sequence sharing 56% nucleotide sequence identity with the human leptin cDNA. To confirm that the EST is naturally expressed in the salamander, a 409bp cDNA was amplified by RT-PCR of salamander testis and stomach mRNAs. The coding sequence of the cDNA is predicted to encode 169 amino acids, and the mature peptide to consist of 146 residues, as in mammals. Although the overall amino acid identity with mammalian leptins is only 29%, the salamander and mammalian peptides share common structural features. An intron was identified between coding exons providing evidence that the sequence is present in the salamander genome. Phylogenetic analysis showed a rate of molecular divergence consistent with the accepted view of vertebrate evolution. The pattern of tissue expression of the leptin-like cDNA differed between metamorphosed adult individuals of different sizes suggesting possible developmental regulation. Expression was most prominent in the skin and testis, but was also detected in tissues in which leptin mRNA is present in mammals, including the fat body, stomach, and muscle. The characterization of a salamander leptin-like gene provides a basis for understanding how the structure and functions of leptin have altered during the evolution of tetrapod vertebrates.

  13. Environmental acidification is not associated with altered plasma corticosterone levels in the stream-side salamander, Desmognathus ochrophaeus.

    PubMed

    Woodley, Sarah K; Freeman, Peter; Ricciardella, Lauren F

    2014-05-15

    As environments become increasingly altered due to anthropogenic factors, interest is growing in how endocrine systems respond to pollution and environmental degradation. Glucocorticoid hormones (GCs) are a type of stress hormones that are released upon activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and have widespread effects throughout the body. We tested the hypothesis that exposure to environmental acidification is associated with altered levels of plasma GCs in adult, stream-side Allegheny Mountain dusky salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus). We compared plasma corticosterone (CORT) in salamanders living in 9 streams that differed in pH. Although capture and handling induced a robust increase in plasma CORT in all populations of salamanders, we discerned no significant effect of environmental pH on baseline CORT or handling-induced CORT levels. In a laboratory study, low pH decreased salamander locomotory activity compared to acid-neutral controls, but there was no effect of pH on plasma CORT. Decreased locomotory activity is a common amphibian response to stress, indicating that low pH has adverse effects on Allegheny Mountain dusky salamanders. Overall, we conclude that the effects of environmental pH on salamander behavior and other potential responses are not mediated by changes in plasma CORT levels. We discuss alternative explanations for our results and describe difficulties involved in searching for relationships between plasma GCs and environmental degradation.

  14. 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.

  15. Isolation of Mitochondrial Ribosomes.

    PubMed

    Carroll, Adam J

    2017-01-01

    Translation of mitochondrial encoded mRNAs by mitochondrial ribosomes is thought to play a major role in regulating the expression of mitochondrial proteins. However, the structure and function of plant mitochondrial ribosomes remains poorly understood. To study mitochondrial ribosomes, it is necessary to separate them from plastidic and cytosolic ribosomes that are generally present at much higher concentrations. Here, a straight forward protocol for the preparation of fractions highly enriched in mitochondrial ribosomes from plant cells is described. The method begins with purification of mitochondria followed by mitochondrial lysis and ultracentrifugation of released ribosomes through sucrose cushions and gradients. Dark-grown Arabidopsis cells were used in this example because of the ease with which good yields of pure mitochondria can be obtained from them. However, the steps for isolation of ribosomes from mitochondria could be applied to mitochondria obtained from other sources. Proteomic analyses of resulting fractions have confirmed strong enrichment of mitochondrial ribosomal proteins.

  16. Mitochondrial biogenesis and turnover.

    PubMed

    Diaz, Francisca; Moraes, Carlos T

    2008-07-01

    Mitochondrial biogenesis is a complex process involving the coordinated expression of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, the import of the products of the latter into the organelle and turnover. The mechanisms associated with these events have been intensively studied in the last 20 years and our understanding of their details is much improved. Mitochondrial biogenesis requires the participation of calcium signaling that activates a series of calcium-dependent protein kinases that in turn activate transcription factors and coactivators such as PGC-1alpha that regulates the expression of genes coding for mitochondrial components. In addition, mitochondrial biogenesis involves the balance of mitochondrial fission-fusion. Mitochondrial malfunction or defects in any of the many pathways involved in mitochondrial biogenesis can lead to degenerative diseases and possibly play an important part in aging.

  17. Interactions between introduced trout and larval salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in high-elevation lakes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tyler, T.; Liss, W.J.; Ganio, L.; Larson, Gary L.; Hoffman, Robert L.; Deimling, E.; Lomnicky, G.A.

    1998-01-01

    The larval stage of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) is the top vertebrate predator in high-elevation fishless lakes in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, Washington (U.S.A.). Although most of these high-elevation lakes were naturally fishless, trout have been stocked in many of them. We sought to determine the effects of physicochemical factors and introduced trout on abundance and behavior of A. macrodactylum larvae. Larval salamander densities were estimated by snorkeling. Snorkelers carefully searched through substrate materials within 2 m of the shoreline and recorded the number of larvae observed and if larvae were hidden in benthic substrates. Physicochemical factors were measured in each lake on the same day that snorkel surveys were conducted. In fishless lakes, larval salamander densities were positively related to total Kjeldahl-N concentration and negatively related to lake elevation. Crustacean zooplankton, especially cladocerans, were important food resources for larval A. macrodactylum. Crustacean zooplankton and cladoceran densities were positively related to total Kjeldahl-N, suggesting that increased food resources contributed to increased densities of larval A. macrodactylum. Differences in larval salamander densities between fish and fishless lakes were related to total Kjeldahl-N concentrations and the reproductive status of trout. Mean larval salamander densities for fishless lakes with total Kjeldahl-N < 0.045 mg/L were not significantly different from mean larval densities in lakes with reproducing trout or in lakes with nonreproducing trout. In fishless lakes with total Kjeldahl-N a?Y 0.045 mg/L, however, mean larval densities were significantly higher than in lakes with reproducing trout where fish reached high densities. In fishless lakes with total Kjeldahl-N a?Y 0.095 mg/L, mean larval densities were significantly higher than in lakes with nonreproducing trout where trout fry were stocked at low

  18. Human Mitochondrial Protein Database

    National Institute of Standards and Technology Data Gateway

    SRD 131 Human Mitochondrial Protein Database (Web, free access)   The Human Mitochondrial Protein Database (HMPDb) provides comprehensive data on mitochondrial and human nuclear encoded proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and function. This database consolidates information from SwissProt, LocusLink, Protein Data Bank (PDB), GenBank, Genome Database (GDB), Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM), Human Mitochondrial Genome Database (mtDB), MITOMAP, Neuromuscular Disease Center and Human 2-D PAGE Databases. This database is intended as a tool not only to aid in studying the mitochondrion but in studying the associated diseases.

  19. Effects of histamine on light responses of amacrine cells in tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-01

    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.

  20. gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter-mediated current from bipolar cells in tiger salamander retinal slices.

    PubMed

    Yang, C Y

    1998-09-01

    About 10% of bipolar cells in salamander retina synthesize and take up gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and may use GABA as a neurotransmitter. As GABA uptake is electrogenic, bipolar cells expressing GABA transporters (GATs) should give transport current (IGAT) to extracellular GABA. Using whole-cell patch recording, 28 bipolar cells responded to 30-200 microM GABA puffed to the axon terminals with a picrotoxin (PTX)-sensitive chloride current (ICI) only. Another three bipolar cells had, in addition to ICI, a PTX-resistant, sodium-dependent current that was completely and reversibly blocked by NO-711, an IGAT inhibitor, indicating that this component was an IGAT. This finding provides further support for a subset of GABAergic bipolar cells in the salamander retina.

  1. Embryo development inside female salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum-laterale) prior to egg laying.

    PubMed

    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.

  2. Intracapsular algae provide fixed carbon to developing embryos of the salamander Ambystoma maculatum.

    PubMed

    Graham, Erin R; Fay, Scott A; Davey, Adam; Sanders, Robert W

    2013-02-01

    Each spring, North American spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) females each lay hundreds of eggs in shallow pools of water. Eggs are surrounded by jelly layers and are deposited as large gelatinous masses. Following deposition, masses are penetrated by a mutualistic green alga, Oophila amblystomatis, which enters individual egg capsules, proliferates and aggregates near the salamander embryo, providing oxygen that enhances development. We examined the effects of population density of intracapsular O. amblystomatis on A. maculatum embryos and show that larger algal populations promote faster embryonic growth and development. Also, we show that carbon fixed by O. amblystomatis is transferred to the embryos, providing the first evidence of direct translocation of photosynthate from a symbiont to a vertebrate host.

  3. Climate-mediated competition in a high-elevation salamander community

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dallalio, Eric A.; Brand, Adrianne; Grant, Evan H. Campbell

    2017-01-01

    The distribution of the federally endangered Shenandoah Salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) is presumed to be limited by competition with the Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus). In particular, the current distribution of P. shenandoah is understood to be restricted to warmer and drier habitats because of interspecific interactions. These habitats may be particularly sensitive to climate change, though the influence of competition may also be affected by temperature and relative humidity. We investigated the response of P. shenandoah to competition with P. cinereus under four climate scenarios in 3-dimensional mesocosms. The results suggest that, although climate change may alleviate competitive pressure from P. cinereus, warmer temperatures may also significantly influence the persistence of the species across its known range.

  4. 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). 

  5. The spinal cord supports of vertebrae in the crown-group salamanders (Caudata, Urodela).

    PubMed

    Skutschas, Pavel P; Baleeva, Nataly V

    2012-09-01

    The development of spinal cord supports (bony thickenings which extend into the vertebral canal of vertebrae) in primitive (Salamandrella keyserlingii) and derived (Lissotriton vulgaris) salamanders were described. The spinal cord supports develop as the protuberances of periostal bone of the neural arches in the anteroproximal part of the septal collagenous fibers which connect a transverse myoseptum with the notochord and spinal cord, in the septal bundle inside the vertebral canal. Spinal cord supports were also found in some teleostean (Salmo salar, Oncorhynchus mykiss) and dipnoan (Protopterus sp.) fishes. The absence of the spinal cord supports in vertebrates with cartilaginous vertebrae (lampreys, chondrichthyan, and chondrostean fishes) corresponds to the fact that the spinal cord supports are bone structures. The absence of the spinal cord supports in frogs correlates with the lack of the well developed septal bundles inside the vertebral canal. The spinal cord supports are, presumably, a synapomorphic character for salamanders which originated independently of those observed in teleostean and dipnoan fishes.

  6. Normal table of embryonic development in the four-toed salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum.

    PubMed

    Hurney, C A; Babcock, S K; Shook, D R; Pelletier, T M; Turner, S D; Maturo, J; Cogbill, S; Snow, M C; Kinch, K

    2015-05-01

    We present a complete staging table of normal development for the lungless salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum (Caudata: Plethodontidae). Terrestrial egg clutches from naturally ovipositing females were collected and maintained at 15 °C in the laboratory. Observations, photographs, and time-lapse movies of embryos were taken throughout the 45-day embryonic period. The complete normal table of development for H. scutatum is divided into 28 stages and extends previous analyses of H. scutatum embryonic development (Bishop, 1920; Humphrey, 1928). Early embryonic stage classifications through neurulation reflect criteria described for Xenopus laevis, Ambystoma maculatum and other salamanders. Later embryonic stage assignments are based on unique features of H. scutatum embryos. Additionally, we provide morphological analysis of gastrulation and neurulation, as well as details on external aspects of eye, gill, limb, pigmentation, and tail development to support future research related to phylogeny, comparative embryology, and molecular mechanisms of development.

  7. Mitochondrial Diseases and Cardiomyopathies.

    PubMed

    Brunel-Guitton, Catherine; Levtova, Alina; Sasarman, Florin

    2015-11-01

    Mitochondrial cardiomyopathies are clinically and genetically heterogeneous. An integrative approach encompassing clinical, biochemical, and molecular investigations is required to reach a specific diagnosis. In this review we summarize the clinical and genetic aspects of mitochondrial disorders associated with cardiomyopathy, including disorders of oxidative phosphorylation. It also describes groups of disorders that, although not usually classified as mitochondrial disorders, stem from defects in mitochondrial function (eg, disorders of β-oxidation and the carnitine cycle), are associated with secondary mitochondrial impairment (eg, organic acidurias), and are important diagnostically because they are treatable. Current biochemical and molecular techniques for the diagnosis of mitochondrial cardiomyopathies are described, and a diagnostic algorithm is proposed, to help clinicians in their approach to cardiomyopathies in the context of mitochondrial diseases.

  8. Comparing Population Patterns to Processes: Abundance and Survival of a Forest Salamander following Habitat Degradation

    PubMed Central

    Otto, Clint R. V.; Roloff, Gary J.; Thames, Rachael E.

    2014-01-01

    Habitat degradation resulting from anthropogenic activities poses immediate and prolonged threats to biodiversity, particularly among declining amphibians. Many studies infer amphibian response to habitat degradation by correlating patterns in species occupancy or abundance with environmental effects, often without regard to the demographic processes underlying these patterns. We evaluated how retention of vertical green trees (CANOPY) and coarse woody debris (CWD) influenced terrestrial salamander abundance and apparent survival in recently clearcut forests. Estimated abundance of unmarked salamanders was positively related to CANOPY (Canopy  = 0.21 (0.02–1.19; 95% CI), but not CWD (CWD  = 0.11 (−0.13–0.35) within 3,600 m2 sites, whereas estimated abundance of unmarked salamanders was not related to CANOPY (Canopy  = −0.01 (−0.21–0.18) or CWD (CWD  = −0.02 (−0.23–0.19) for 9 m2 enclosures. In contrast, apparent survival of marked salamanders within our enclosures over 1 month was positively influenced by both CANOPY and CWD retention (Canopy  = 0.73 (0.27–1.19; 95% CI) and CWD  = 1.01 (0.53–1.50). Our results indicate that environmental correlates to abundance are scale dependent reflecting habitat selection processes and organism movements after a habitat disturbance event. Our study also provides a cautionary example of how scientific inference is conditional on the response variable(s), and scale(s) of measure chosen by the investigator, which can have important implications for species conservation and management. Our research highlights the need for joint evaluation of population state variables, such as abundance, and population-level process, such as survival, when assessing anthropogenic impacts on forest biodiversity. PMID:24718498

  9. Expression of calcium transporters in the retina of the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

    PubMed

    Krizaj, David; Liu, Xiaorong; Copenhagen, David R

    2004-08-02

    Changes in intracellular calcium concentration, [Ca2+]i, modulate the flow of visual signals across all stages of processing in the retina, yet the identities of Ca2+ transporters responsible for these changes are still largely unknown. In the current study, the distribution of plasma membrane and intracellular Ca2+ transporters in the retina of tiger salamander, a model system for physiological studies of retinal function, was determined. Plasma membrane calcium ATPases (PMCAs), responsible for high-affinity Ca2+ extrusion, were highly expressed in the salamander retina. PMCA isoforms 1, 2, and 4 were localized to photoreceptors, whereas the inner retina expressed all four isoforms. PMCA3 was expressed in a sparse population of amacrine and ganglion neurons, whereas PMCA2 was expressed in most amacrine and ganglion cells. Na+/Ca2+ exchangers, a high-capacity Ca2+ extrusion system, were expressed in the outer plexiform layer and in a subset of inner nuclear and ganglion layer cells. Intracellular Ca2+ store transporters were also represented prominently. SERCA2a, a splice variant of the sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic Ca2+ ATPase, was found mostly in photoreceptors, whereas SERCA2b was found in the majority of retinal neurons and in glial cells. The predominant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ channels in the salamander retina are represented by the isoform 2 of the IP3 receptor family and the isoform 2 of the ryanodine receptor family. These results indicate that Ca2+ transporters in the salamander retina are expressed in a cell type-specific manner.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

    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.

  12. Anatomical and electrophysiological plasticity of locomotor networks following spinal transection in the salamander.

    PubMed

    Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Chevallier, Stéphanie; Amontieva-Potapova, Ianina; Philippe, Céline

    2013-08-01

    Recovery of locomotor behavior following spinal cord injury can occur spontaneously in some vertebrates, such as fish, urodele amphibians, and certain reptiles. This review provides an overview of the current status of our knowledge on the anatomical and electrophysiological changes occurring within the spinal cord that lead to, or are associated with the re-expression of locomotion in spinally-transected salamanders. A better understanding of these processes will help to devise strategies for restoring locomotor function in mammals, including humans.

  13. Comparing population patterns to processes: abundance and survival of a forest salamander following habitat degradation.

    PubMed

    Otto, Clint R V; Roloff, Gary J; Thames, Rachael E

    2014-01-01

    Habitat degradation resulting from anthropogenic activities poses immediate and prolonged threats to biodiversity, particularly among declining amphibians. Many studies infer amphibian response to habitat degradation by correlating patterns in species occupancy or abundance with environmental effects, often without regard to the demographic processes underlying these patterns. We evaluated how retention of vertical green trees (CANOPY) and coarse woody debris (CWD) influenced terrestrial salamander abundance and apparent survival in recently clearcut forests. Estimated abundance of unmarked salamanders was positively related to CANOPY (β Canopy  = 0.21 (0.02-1.19; 95% CI), but not CWD (β CWD  = 0.11 (-0.13-0.35) within 3,600 m2 sites, whereas estimated abundance of unmarked salamanders was not related to CANOPY (β Canopy  = -0.01 (-0.21-0.18) or CWD (β CWD  = -0.02 (-0.23-0.19) for 9 m2 enclosures. In contrast, apparent survival of marked salamanders within our enclosures over 1 month was positively influenced by both CANOPY and CWD retention (β Canopy  = 0.73 (0.27-1.19; 95% CI) and β CWD  = 1.01 (0.53-1.50). Our results indicate that environmental correlates to abundance are scale dependent reflecting habitat selection processes and organism movements after a habitat disturbance event. Our study also provides a cautionary example of how scientific inference is conditional on the response variable(s), and scale(s) of measure chosen by the investigator, which can have important implications for species conservation and management. Our research highlights the need for joint evaluation of population state variables, such as abundance, and population-level process, such as survival, when assessing anthropogenic impacts on forest biodiversity.

  14. Molecular phylogeography and population genetic structure of an endangered species Pachyhynobius shangchengensis (hynobiid Salamander) in a fragmented habitat of southeastern China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Yanyu; Zhang, Yanhua; Li, Xiaochen

    2013-01-01

    The salamander Pachyhynobius shangchengensis (Hynobiidae) is a vulnerable species restricted to a patchy distribution associated with small mountain streams surrounded by forested slopes in the Mount Dabieshan region in southeastern China. However, molecular phylogeography and population genetic structure of P. shangchengensis remain poorly investigated. In this study, we explored the genetic structure and phylogeography of P. shangchengensis based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I genes. Fifty-one haplotypes and four clades were found among 93 samples. Phylogenetic analyses revealed four deeply divergent and reciprocally monophyletic mtDNA lineages that approximately correspond to four geographic regions separated by complicated topography and long distances. The distinct geographic distributions of all lineages and the estimated divergence time suggest spatial and temporal separation coinciding with climatic changes during the Pleistocene. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that most of the observed genetic variation occurred among the four groups, implying long-term interruption of gene flow, and the possible separation of P. shangchengensis into four management units for conservation.

  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.

  16. 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.

  17. Toxicological responses of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to subchronic soil exposures of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene.

    PubMed

    Bazar, Mathew A; Quinn, Michael J; Mozzachio, Kristie; Johnson, Mark S

    2008-06-01

    Since World War I, trinitrotoluene (TNT) has been the most commonly used explosive. Environmental contamination associated with synthesis, manufacture of weapons, and use during training exercises has been extensive, with soil concentrations reaching 145,000 mg/kg. Some of these areas include habitats for amphibian species. Earlier studies have shown that salamanders dermally absorb TNT from soil. To ascertain what soil concentrations of TNT are toxic to amphibians, red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) were exposed to one of five concentrations of TNT in soil for 28 d and evaluated for indicators of toxicity. A total of 100 salamanders were randomly sorted by weight and assigned to target TNT concentrations in soil of either 3,000, 1,500, 750, 325, or 0 mg/kg dry weight. Food consisted of uncontaminated flightless Drosophila melanogaster. Survival was reduced in salamanders exposed to 1,500 and 3,000 mg/kg by 10 and 55%, respectively. Most mortality/morbidity occurred within the first week of exposure. Salamanders had a reduction in hemoglobin at 750 mg/kg or greater and a reduction in red blood cell concentration at 1,500 mg/kg or greater. Food consumption was affected in salamanders at 750 mg/kg or greater; a reduction in body mass and liver glycogen content also occurred at and above this concentration. Splenic congestion also was observed in salamanders from these groups. These data suggest that soil TNT concentrations of 373 +/- 41.0 mg/kg or greater result in reduced body mass, reduced feed intake, and hematological effects.

  18. Spatial data for Eurycea salamander habitats associated With three aquifers in south-central Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heitmuller, Franklin T.; Reece, Brian D.

    2006-01-01

    Eurycea salamander taxa comprise 12 known species that inhabit springs and caves in south-central Texas. Many of these are threatened or endangered species, and some are found only at one location. A number of the neotenic salamanders might be at risk from habitat loss associated with declines in ground-water levels. Eurycea salamander habitats are associated with three aquifers in south-central Texas: (1) the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) aquifer, (2) the Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone) aquifer, and (3) the Trinity aquifer. The Edwards (Balcones fault zone) aquifer is commonly separated into three segments: from southwest to northeast, the San Antonio segment, the Barton Springs segment, and the northern segment. The Trinity aquifer south of the Colorado River can be divided into three permeable zones, the upper, middle, and lower zone. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed this report (geodatabase) to aggregate the spatial data necessary to assess the potential effects of ground-water declines on known Eurycea habitat locations in south-central Texas. The geodatabase provides information about spring habitats, spring flow, cave habitats, aquifers, and projected water levels.

  19. Spatial and temporal patterns of Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV) prevalence in tiger salamanders Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum.

    PubMed

    Greer, Amy L; Brunner, Jesse L; Collins, James P

    2009-05-27

    Amphibian ranaviruses have been documented as causes of mass mortality in amphibian populations throughout the world. The temporal and spatial dynamics of ranavirus infections when epidemics are not apparent remains unclear. To address this question, we collected tissue samples from 2003 to 2006 in 4 geographically separated tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum host populations on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona. We tested for Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV), a lethal ranavirus of tiger salamanders, calculated ATV prevalence for each sampling date, and examined temporal and spatial patterns by quantifying the annual level of ATV synchrony among populations using the intraclass correlation coefficient. Salamander populations were commonly infected with ATV. We observed no morbidity or mortality in these populations even as ATV prevalence values varied from 0 to 57%. Infection prevalence across the landscape was more similar within a given year than between years. There was no statistically significant spatial pattern in prevalence across the landscape. Our findings highlight the need to explore new hypotheses regarding the population level impact of these pathogens on amphibian communities.

  20. Candidate gene analysis of thyroid hormone receptors in metamorphosing vs. nonmetamorphosing salamanders.

    PubMed

    Voss, S R; Shaffer, H B; Taylor, J; Safi, R; Laudet, V

    2000-08-01

    We used two different experimental approaches to test the hypothesis that thyroid hormone receptor (TR) variation is associated with alternate life cycles modes in ambystomatid salamanders. In the first experiment, the inheritance of TRalpha and TRbeta genotypes was determined for metamorphic and non metamorphic offspring from backcrosses between Ambystoma mexicanum (an obligate metamorphic-failure species) and metamorphic F1 hybrids (A. mexicanum x A. tigrinum tigrinum). The segregation of TR genotype was independent of the expression of life cycle mode phenotype, and neither TR locus was linked to DNA markers that flank a major-effect locus for life cycle mode. In the second experiment, a portion of the ligand-binding domain of TRalpha and TRbeta was cloned and sequenced for DNA samples from 14 different ambystomatid salamander populations, including obligate metamorphic, facultative metamorphic, and obligate metamorphic-failure taxa. Nucleotide sequence variation was found for both TRalpha and TRbeta, with several nonsynonomous substitutions that presumably code for nonconservative amino acid replacements. However, no general relationship was found between TR allelic variation and life cycle mode among populations or species. These data do not implicate TRs as candidate loci involved in the current maintenance or past evolution of alternate life cycle modes in members of the tiger salamander complex.

  1. Cannabinoid receptor activation differentially modulates ion channels in photoreceptors of the tiger salamander.

    PubMed

    Straiker, Alex; Sullivan, Jane M

    2003-05-01

    Cannabinoid CB1 receptors have been detected in retinas of numerous species, with prominent labeling in photoreceptor terminals of the chick and monkey. CB1 labeling is well-conserved across species, suggesting that CB1 receptors might also be present in photoreceptors of the tiger salamander. Synaptic transmission in vertebrate photoreceptors is mediated by L-type calcium currents-currents that are modulated by CB1 receptors in bipolar cells of the tiger salamander. Presence of CB1 receptors in photoreceptor terminals would therefore be consistent with presynaptic modulation of synaptic transmission, a role seen for cannabinoids in other parts of the brain. Here we report immunohistochemical and electrophysiological evidence for the presence of functional CB1 receptors in rod and cone photoreceptors of the tiger salamander. The cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55212-2 enhances calcium currents of rod photoreceptors by 39% but decreases calcium currents of large single cones by 50%. In addition, WIN 55212-2 suppresses potassium currents of rods and large single cones by 44 and 48%, respectively. Thus functional CB1 receptors, present in the terminals of rod and cone photoreceptors, differentially modulate calcium and potassium currents in rods and large single cones. CB1 receptors are therefore well positioned to modulate neurotransmitter release at the first synapse of the visual system.

  2. ON ganglion cells are intrinsically photosensitive in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Rajaraman, Kaveri

    2012-01-01

    Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) have been well characterized in mammalian systems, both morphologically and electrophysiologically. They show slow, sustained responses to bright light in the absence of photoreceptor-based input, mediated by the photopigment melanopsin. Only one mammalian melanopsin gene is expressed in a small fraction of the retinal ganglion cell population, but there are two genes for melanopsin among nonmammalian vertebrates that are widely expressed in a variety of retinal and extraretinal cell types, along with other photosensitive pigments. The current study provides an electrophysiological study of ipRGCs in the larval tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), a nonmammalian vertebrate with a well-characterized retina. The results show that the ipRGC population is equivalent to the ON ganglion cell population in the tiger salamander retina. This sheds light on the evolutionary trajectory and functional significance of intrinsic photosensitivity through the vertebrate lineage and also affects our understanding of ON cell activity and development. We have characterized the nature of the intrinsic responses of the ON cell population, compared intrinsic and synaptically based receptive fields, and quantified the spectrum of the intrinsic activity. A wider action spectrum of intrinsic photosensitivity was obtained than would be expected for a single opsin photopigment, suggesting the expression of multiple photopigments in the salamander ipRGC. J. Comp. Neurol., 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodials, Inc.

  3. 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

  4. Ultrasonography: a method used for pregnancy imaging of the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra).

    PubMed

    Najbar, A; Kiełbowicz, Z; Szymczak, J; Ogielska, M

    2016-12-01

    Ultrasound imaging has more frequently been used in veterinary medicine of amphibians and reptiles. In this study, we have verified the usefulness of ultrasound imaging in pregnancy determination of the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra. We have also undertaken to estimate the number of larvae and their developmental stage directly in the oviducts. Three gravid females from Lower Silesia (southern Poland) were examined. Due to the small size of the scanned animals, and the particular arrangement of embryos in the oviducts and ultrasound beams dispersal, the method proved to be inaccurate. Therefore, the minimum number of well-visualized larvae was determined. The maximum number of larvae was established on the basis of the visible fragments of embryos. After birth, we found that the number of larvae born was included in the "min-max" range in only one case. In the remaining two salamanders the number of larvae was higher than estimated in 3 to 7 individuals. The results showed that ultrasound imaging allows the minimum number of larvae in salamander; oviducts to be specified. However, total length measurements were possible only for single and clearly visible embryos.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-07

    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.

  6. Safe caves and dangerous forests? Predation risk may contribute to salamander colonization of subterranean habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvidio, Sebastiano; Palumbi, Giulia; Romano, Antonio; Costa, Andrea

    2017-04-01

    Recent studies suggest that many organisms actively colonize the subterranean environment to avoid climatic stress, exploit new ecological opportunities and reduce competition and predation. Terrestrial salamanders are known to colonize the more stable subterranean habitats mainly to escape external climatic extremes, while the role of predation avoidance remains untested. To better understand the importance of predation, we used clay models of the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii to compare the predation occurring in woodland and subterranean habitats. Models were positioned in three forests and in three caves in NW Italy. One-hundred eighty-four models were retrieved from the field and 59 (32%) were attacked by predators. Models were attacked on their head more often than expected by chance and, therefore, were perceived by predators as real prey items. In the woodlands, clay models showed a four-time higher probability of being attacked in comparison to caves, suggesting a different level of potential predation risk in these surface habitats. These findings are one of the first experimental evidences that, in terrestrial ecosystems, predation avoidance may contribute to the salamander underground colonization process.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  8. Midbrain dopaminergic neurogenesis and behavioural recovery in a salamander lesion-induced regeneration model.

    PubMed

    Parish, Clare L; Beljajeva, Anna; Arenas, Ernest; Simon, András

    2007-08-01

    Death and lack of functional regeneration of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons, decreased DA input in the target striatum and movement anomalies characterise Parkinson's disease (PD). There is currently no cure for PD. One way to promote recovery would be to induce or enhance DA neurogenesis. Whether DA neurogenesis occurs in the adult midbrain is a matter of debate. Here, we describe the creation of a salamander 6-hydroxydopamine model of PD to examine midbrain DA regeneration. We demonstrate a robust and complete regeneration of the mesencephalic and diencephalic DA system after elimination of DA neurons. Regeneration is contributed by DA neurogenesis, leads to histological restoration, and to full recovery of motor behaviour. Molecular analyses of the temporal expression pattern of DA determinants indicate that the regenerating DA neurons mature along a similar developmental program as their mammalian counterparts during embryogenesis. We also find that the adult salamander midbrain can reactivate radial glia-like ependymoglia cells that proliferate. The salamander model provides insights into the mechanisms of DA regeneration/neurogenesis and may contribute to the development of novel regenerative strategies for the mammalian brain.

  9. Evidence for the local evolution of mechanisms underlying limb regeneration in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Garza-Garcia, A Acely; Driscoll, Paul C; Brockes, Jeremy P

    2010-10-01

    The most extensive regenerative ability in adult vertebrates is found in the salamanders. Although it is often suggested that regeneration is an ancestral property for vertebrates, our studies on the cell-surface three-finger-protein Prod 1 provide clear evidence for the importance of local evolution of limb regeneration in salamanders. Prod 1 is implicated in both patterning and growth in the regeneration of limbs. It interacts with well-conserved proteins such as the epidermal growth-factor receptor and the anterior gradient protein that are widely expressed in phylogeny. A detailed analysis of the structure and sequence of Prod 1 in relation to other vertebrate three-finger proteins in mammals and zebra fish supports the view that it is a salamander-specific protein. This is the first example of a taxon-specific protein that is clearly implicated in the mechanisms of regeneration. We propose the hypothesis that regeneration depends on the activity of taxon-specific components in orchestrating a cellular machinery that is extensively conserved between regenerating and non-regenerating taxa. This hypothesis has significant implications for our outlook on regeneration in vertebrates, as well as for the strategies employed in extending regenerative ability in mammals.

  10. Morphological characterization of the glandular system in the salamander Plethodon shermani (Caudata, Plethodontidae).

    PubMed

    von Byern, Janek; Dicke, Ursula; Heiss, Egon; Grunwald, Ingo; Gorb, Stanislav; Staedler, Yannick; Cyran, Norbert

    2015-10-01

    Amphibians have evolved a wide variety of mechanisms that provide a certain degree of protection against predators, including camouflage, tail autonomy, encounter behavior and noxious or toxic skin secretions. In addition to these strategies, some amphibians release a glue-like secretion onto the surface of their skin when threatened. While some information regarding the origin and production of these adhesive secretions is available for frogs such as Notaden bennetti, these aspects are only partially understood in salamanders. We contribute to an earlier study and provide additional information regarding the origin, production, and characterization of the adhesive secretion in the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani) at a microanatomical level. When stressed, this salamander secretes a milky, viscous liquid from its dorsal and ventral skin. This secretion is extremely adhesive and hardens within seconds upon exposure to air. This study describes two cutaneous gland types (mucous and granular) in the dorsal and ventral epithelial tissue that differ considerably in their secretory content. While the smaller mucous glands contains flocculent to granular material, mostly acidic glycoproteins, the granular glands synthesize various granules of differing size and density that consist of basic proteinaceous material. The results strongly indicate that the secretions of both gland types from the dorsal as well as the ventral side form the adhesive mucus in Plethodon shermani, consisting of basic and acidic glycoproteins, glycoconjugates with mannose and α-L-fucose residues as well as lipid components.

  11. Mitochondrial helicases and mitochondrial genome maintenance

    PubMed Central

    de Souza-Pinto, Nadja C.; Aamann, Maria D.; Kulikowicz, Tomasz; Stevnsner, Tinna V.; Bohr, Vilhelm A.

    2010-01-01

    Helicases are essential enzymes that utilize the energy of nucleotide hydrolysis to drive unwinding of nucleic acid duplexes. Helicases play roles in all aspects of DNA metabolism including DNA repair, DNA replication and transcription. The subcellular locations and functions of several helicases have been studied in detail; however, the roles of specific helicases in mitochondrial biology remain poorly characterized. This review presents important recent advances in identifying and characterizing mitochondrial helicases, some of which also operate in the nucleus. PMID:20576512

  12. 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.; 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

    2016-01-20

    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

  13. Toxicity and immune system effects of dietary deltamethrin exposure in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum).

    PubMed

    Froese, Jennifer M W; Smits, Judit E G; Forsyth, Douglas J; Wickstrom, Mark L

    2009-01-01

    One theory proposed to explain the global declines in amphibian populations involves contaminant-induced immune alteration and subsequent increased susceptibility to infectious disease. The goal of this study was twofold, to (1) study acute oral toxicity of deltamethrin (cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 3-(2,2-dibromoethenyl)-2,2-dimethyl cyano(3-phenoxyphenyl)methyl ester) in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum), and (2) evaluate whether the insecticide deltamethrin produces immunosuppression in these animals. In the acute toxicity study, tiger salamanders receiving single doses of deltamethrin ranging from 1 to 35 mg/kg displayed intention tremors, hypersalivation, ataxia, choreoathetosis (writhing), severe depression (immobility with minimal response to stimuli), and death. For acute effects, based on clinical signs, the median lethal dose (LD(50)) and lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) were estimated to be 5 to 10 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg, respectively. The LOAEL in animals dosed 3 times per week for 4 wk was 400 microg/kg/d. The endpoints for the immunotoxicity study included lymphoid organ mass and histopathology, hematological variables, and functional assays of phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and lymphoblastic transformation. Tiger salamanders in 4 treatment groups (0, 4, 40, or 400 microg/kg/d) were dosed with deltamethrin via the diet 3 times per week for 4 wk. Deltamethrin exposure resulted in increased liver mass, packed cell volume, and total plasma protein concentration, but these effects were not dose dependent. The relative mass of kidney and spleen, plasma albumin and globulin concentrations, and circulating leukocyte numbers were not affected by deltamethrin exposure, nor were phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and lymphoblastic transformation. This study shows that at moderate levels of exposure, deltamethrin may be neurotoxic to tiger salamanders. However, based on the immune assays considered in this study there was no evidence of immunosuppression

  14. A comparative study of potassium-induced relaxation in vascular smooth muscle of tiger salamanders and rats.

    PubMed

    Malvin, G M; Webb, R C

    1984-07-01

    This study compares potassium-induced relaxation in vascular tissue of an amphibian (Ambystoma tigrinum) and a mammal (rat). Aortas (salamanders) and tail arteries (rats) were cut into helical strips for isometric force recording. After norepinephrine-induced contraction in potassium-free solution, arteries relaxed in response to added potassium (1-20 mmol/l). Potassium-induced relaxation was greater in rat tail arteries than in salamander aortas. Half-maximal relaxation occurred at a potassium concentration of approximately 3 mmol/l in both species. Ouabain inhibited potassium-induced relaxation; salamanders were more sensitive to the glycoside than rats. Potassium-induced relaxation decreased as the temperature of the bathing medium was lowered; half-maximal inhibition occurred at 19 and 29 degrees C for salamander aortas and rat tail arteries, respectively. Potassium-induced relaxation also varied with the interval in potassium-free solution, the hydrogen ion concentration (rats only), and the magnitude of norepinephrine-induced contraction. It appears that the cellular mechanism causing potassium-induced relaxation is similar in blood vessels of salamanders and rats. The observations are consistent with the hypothesis that stimulated electrogenic sodium transport produced membrane hyperpolarization and relaxation in vascular smooth muscle.

  15. Duration and consistency of historical selection are correlated with adaptive trait evolution in the streamside salamander, Ambystoma barbouri.

    PubMed

    Eastman, Jonathan M; Niedzwiecki, John H; Nadler, B Paul; Storfer, Andrew

    2009-10-01

    A fundamental challenge in evolutionary biology concerns estimating the extent to which ecological trade-offs may impose constraints on adaptive evolution. Novel ecological stressors may limit adaptive evolution of naive lineages that have experienced historically different selective regimes. Regarded as recently derived from a pond-breeding ancestor, streamside salamanders face the novel and strong selection pressure of breeding in streams with fish predators. A statistical phylogenetic approach was used to test whether adaptive evolution of antipredator performance phenotypes in streamside salamanders was positively associated with: (1) estimated per-lineage duration of coexistence with predatory fish; and (2) consistency of this predator selective-regime within lineages. Average durations of fish contact were computed for each salamander lineage on a set of chronograms. Selection consistency was determined by estimating the number of ecological transitions between fish and fishless states using stochastic character mapping. Historical selection in streamside salamanders can be generally characterized as unstable, apparently punctuated by the stochastic loss and recolonization of predatory fish in most lineages. We found that the efficacy of antipredator phenotypes in salamanders is strongly related to historical duration, as well as consistency, of selection imposed by predatory fish.

  16. Intraerythrocytic rickettsial inclusions in Ocoee salamanders (Desmognathus ocoee): prevalence, morphology, and comparisons with inclusions of Plethodon cinereus.

    PubMed

    Davis, Andrew K; Cecala, Kristen

    2010-07-01

    Reports of an unusual intraerythrocytic pathogen in amphibian blood have been made for decades; these pathogens appear as membrane-bound vacuoles within erythrocytes. It is now understood that the pathogen is a Rickettsia bacteria, which are obligate intracellular parasites, and most are transmitted by arthropod vectors. In an effort to further understand the host range and characteristics of this pathogen, we examined 20 Ocoee salamanders (Desmognathus ocoee) from a site in southwest North Carolina for the presence of rickettsial inclusions and report the general characteristics of infections. Seven individuals (35%) were infected, and this level of prevalence was consistent with all other members of this genus examined to date. In contrast, infections within the genus Plethodon tend to occur in less than 10% of individuals, based on review of the literature. The difference could be related to the semi-aquatic nature of Desmognathus salamanders versus the completely terrestrial Plethodon. It is also possible that both groups are hosts to different types of rickettsial bacteria, since the inclusions found here only vaguely resembled those found recently in red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Inclusions in Ocoee salamanders measured 4 microm in diameter on average, and most cells (88%) only had one inclusion. Of all infected individuals, inclusions occurred in approximately 3% of erythrocytes. Similar to that found in red-backed salamanders, infected hosts were significantly larger than non-infected. Future investigations into the nature of this unusual parasite of amphibians would help to further our understanding of its life cycle and transmission.

  17. Similarity and differentiation between bacteria associated with skin of salamanders (Plethodon jordani) and free-living assemblages.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M; Allison, Amanda L

    2014-06-01

    All animals and plants have intimate associations with microbes. Opinion has shifted from viewing microbes primarily as pathogens to the idea that healthy animals and plants carry specialized communities of coevolving microorganisms. However, the generality of this proposition is unknown because surveys rarely compare host-associated microbes with samples from relevant microhabitats. Symbiotic communities might be assembled from local environments with little evolutionary specialization. We evaluated the specificity of bacteria associated with salamander skin in comparison with surfaces in their immediate environments using 16S rRNA sequences. Host-associated and free-living samples were significantly different. However, relative abundances were strongly correlated; the most abundant taxa on salamander skin were also most abundant on moist debris on the forest floor. Thus, although bacterial assemblages on salamander skin are statistically differentiated from those on inanimate surfaces, they are not entirely 'distinct'. Candidate salamander specialists were few in number and occurred at low relative abundances. Within some OTUs, differences in allele frequency suggested genetic specialization at finer levels. Although host-associated and free-living assemblages were similar, a range of more or less specialized symbiotes was evident and bacteria on salamander skin were often specific genotypes of OTUs commonly found on other moist surfaces in the environment.

  18. Identification of Euryhelmis costaricensis metacercariae in the skin of Tohoku hynobiid salamanders (Hynobius lichenatus), northeastern Honshu, Japan.

    PubMed

    Sato, Hiroshi; Ihara, Sadao; Inaba, Osamu; Une, Yumi

    2010-07-01

    Since 2000, cutaneous nodular lesions were observed in Tohoku hynobiid salamanders (Hynobius lichenatus) in the northern Abukuma Mountains, northeastern Honshu, Japan. The distribution of diseased salamanders has expanded, along with the increasing severity of the disease. Samples (foreleg, hindleg, and tail) from five diseased salamanders caught in the spring of 2009 contained 11 to 383 metacercarial cysts (0.43-0.48 mm in diameter) per individual. Experimental inoculations of the metacercariae into rats (Rattus norvegicus) resulted in the development of pentagonal adults with intrauterine eggs that were collected at 3 days, 2 wk, and 5 wk postinoculation. Although adults obtained from rats were smaller, the flukes were morphologically similar to Euryhelmis costaricensis, recorded from Japanese martens (Martes melampus) in northeastern Honshu. The ribosomal RNA gene sequences of the metacercariae collected from salamanders and the E. costaricensis collected from a Japanese marten were identical, confirming the morphology-based species identification. Environmental changes responsible for the increased frequency of diseased salamanders and the increased parasite load are unknown, although increases in feral populations of introduced raccoons (Procyon lotor) and American minks (Neovison vison) may be associated.

  19. 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.

  20. Mitochondrial lipids in neurodegeneration.

    PubMed

    Aufschnaiter, Andreas; Kohler, Verena; Diessl, Jutta; Peselj, Carlotta; Carmona-Gutierrez, Didac; Keller, Walter; Büttner, Sabrina

    2017-01-01

    Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including proteinopathies such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, which are characterized by the deposition of aggregated proteins in the form of insoluble fibrils or plaques. The distinct molecular processes that eventually result in mitochondrial dysfunction during neurodegeneration are well studied but still not fully understood. However, defects in mitochondrial fission and fusion, mitophagy, oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial bioenergetics have been linked to cellular demise. These processes are influenced by the lipid environment within mitochondrial membranes as, besides membrane structure and curvature, recruitment and activity of different proteins also largely depend on the respective lipid composition. Hence, the interaction of neurotoxic proteins with certain lipids and the modification of lipid composition in different cell compartments, in particular mitochondria, decisively impact cell death associated with neurodegeneration. Here, we discuss the relevance of mitochondrial lipids in the pathological alterations that result in neuronal demise, focussing on proteinopathies.

  1. [Mitochondrial and oocyte development].

    PubMed

    Deng, Wei-Ping; Ren, Zhao-Rui

    2007-12-01

    Oocyte development and maturation is a complicated process. The nuclear maturation and cytoplasmic maturation must synchronize which can ensure normal oocyte fertilization and following development. Mitochondrial is the most important cellular organell in cytoplasm, and the variation of its distribution during oocyte maturation, the capacity of OXPHOS generating ATP as well as the content or copy number or transcription level of mitochondrial DNA play an important role in oocyte development and maturation. Therefore, the studies on the variation of mitochondrial distribution, function and mitochondrial DNA could enhance our understanding of the physiology of reproduction and provide new insight to solve the difficulties of assisted reproduction as well as cloning embryo technology.

  2. Progress in mitochondrial epigenetics.

    PubMed

    Manev, Hari; Dzitoyeva, Svetlana

    2013-08-01

    Mitochondria, intracellular organelles with their own genome, have been shown capable of interacting with epigenetic mechanisms in at least four different ways. First, epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the expression of nuclear genome influence mitochondria by modulating the expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes. Second, a cell-specific mitochondrial DNA content (copy number) and mitochondrial activity determine the methylation pattern of nuclear genes. Third, mitochondrial DNA variants influence the nuclear gene expression patterns and the nuclear DNA (ncDNA) methylation levels. Fourth and most recent line of evidence indicates that mitochondrial DNA similar to ncDNA also is subject to epigenetic modifications, particularly by the 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine marks. The latter interaction of mitochondria with epigenetics has been termed 'mitochondrial epigenetics'. Here we summarize recent developments in this particular area of epigenetic research. Furthermore, we propose the term 'mitoepigenetics' to include all four above-noted types of interactions between mitochondria and epigenetics, and we suggest a more restricted usage of the term 'mitochondrial epigenetics' for molecular events dealing solely with the intra-mitochondrial epigenetics and the modifications of mitochondrial genome.

  3. Mitochondrial threshold effects.

    PubMed Central

    Rossignol, Rodrigue; Faustin, Benjamin; Rocher, Christophe; Malgat, Monique; Mazat, Jean-Pierre; Letellier, Thierry

    2003-01-01

    The study of mitochondrial diseases has revealed dramatic variability in the phenotypic presentation of mitochondrial genetic defects. To attempt to understand this variability, different authors have studied energy metabolism in transmitochondrial cell lines carrying different proportions of various pathogenic mutations in their mitochondrial DNA. The same kinds of experiments have been performed on isolated mitochondria and on tissue biopsies taken from patients with mitochondrial diseases. The results have shown that, in most cases, phenotypic manifestation of the genetic defect occurs only when a threshold level is exceeded, and this phenomenon has been named the 'phenotypic threshold effect'. Subsequently, several authors showed that it was possible to inhibit considerably the activity of a respiratory chain complex, up to a critical value, without affecting the rate of mitochondrial respiration or ATP synthesis. This phenomenon was called the 'biochemical threshold effect'. More recently, quantitative analysis of the effects of various mutations in mitochondrial DNA on the rate of mitochondrial protein synthesis has revealed the existence of a 'translational threshold effect'. In this review these different mitochondrial threshold effects are discussed, along with their molecular bases and the roles that they play in the presentation of mitochondrial diseases. PMID:12467494

  4. 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.

  5. Experimental exposure of adult San Marcos salamanders and larval leopard frogs to the cercariae of Centrocestus formosanus.

    PubMed

    Huston, D C; Cantu, V; Huffman, D G

    2014-04-01

    The gill parasite Centrocestus formosanus (Trematoda: Heterophyidae) is an exotic parasite of concern in Texas because it has been shown to infect multiple threatened and endangered fish species. The purpose of this study was to determine if C. formosanus could present a threat to larval anurans, as well as threatened neotenic salamanders endemic to the spring-fed systems of Texas. We exposed adults of the San Marcos salamander Eurycea nana (Caudata: Plethodontidae) and tadpoles of the Rio Grande leopard frog Lithobates berlandieri (Anura: Ranidae) to the cercariae of C. formosanus . The San Marcos salamander showed no signs of metacercarial infection, suggesting that E. nana may be refractory to C. formosanus cercariae. Centrocestus formosanus readily infects the gills of leopard frog tadpoles, but the metacercariae apparently died prior to reaching maturity in our tadpoles.

  6. Cloning of a cDNA encoding cathepsin D from salamander, Hynobius leechii, and its expression in the limb regenerates.

    PubMed

    Ju, B G; Kim, W S

    2000-01-01

    Cathepsin D is a major lysosomal aspartic proteinase participating in the degradation or modification of intra- and extracellular matrix molecules, and its activity is known to increase in the process of tissue reorganization during the early phase of salamander limb regeneration. Here, we report the cloning of a salamander cathepsin D cDNA from Hynobius leechii and its expression profile in normal and retinoic acid (RA) treated limb regenerates. The gene expression of cathepsin D increased notably during the dedifferentiation stage and decreased gradually thereafter. Furthermore, RA that enhances dedifferentiation of regenerating salamander limb caused the elevation of cathepsin D expression both in terms of level and duration. These results suggest that cathepsin D plays important role(s) in the dedifferentiation process, and enhancement of cathepsin D expression might be closely related to RA-evoked pattern duplication.

  7. In Search of Critically Endangered Species: The Current Situation of Two Tiny Salamander Species in the Neotropical Mountains of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Sandoval-Comte, Adriana; Pineda, Eduardo; Aguilar-López, José L.

    2012-01-01

    Worldwide, one in every three species of amphibian is endangered, 39 species have gone extinct in the last 500 years and another 130 species are suspected to have gone extinct in recent decades. Of the amphibians, salamanders have the highest portion of their species in one of the risk categories, even higher than the frogs. To date there have been few studies that have used recent field data to examine the status of populations of endangered salamanders. In this study we evaluate the current situation of two tiny salamanders, Parvimolge townsendi and Thorius pennatulus, both of which are distributed at intermediate elevations in the mountains of the northern Neotropics and are considered to be critically endangered; the first has been proposed as possibly extinct. By carrying out exhaustive surveys in both historical and potentially suitable sites for these two species, we evaluated their abundance and the characteristics of their habitats, and we estimated their potential geographic distribution. We visited 22 sites, investing 672 person-hours of sampling effort in the surveys, and found 201 P. townsendi salamanders in 11 sites and only 13 T. pennatulus salamanders in 5 sites. Both species were preferentially found in cloud forest fragments that were well conserved or only moderately transformed, and some of the salamanders were found in shade coffee plantations. The potential distribution area of both species is markedly fragmented and we estimate that it has decreased by more than 48%. The results of this study highlight the importance of carrying out exhaustive, systematic field surveys to obtain accurate information about the current situation of critically endangered species, and help us better understand the crisis that amphibians are facing worldwide. PMID:22485155

  8. In search of critically endangered species: the current situation of two tiny salamander species in the Neotropical mountains of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sandoval-Comte, Adriana; Pineda, Eduardo; Aguilar-López, José L

    2012-01-01

    Worldwide, one in every three species of amphibian is endangered, 39 species have gone extinct in the last 500 years and another 130 species are suspected to have gone extinct in recent decades. Of the amphibians, salamanders have the highest portion of their species in one of the risk categories, even higher than the frogs. To date there have been few studies that have used recent field data to examine the status of populations of endangered salamanders. In this study we evaluate the current situation of two tiny salamanders, Parvimolge townsendi and Thorius pennatulus, both of which are distributed at intermediate elevations in the mountains of the northern Neotropics and are considered to be critically endangered; the first has been proposed as possibly extinct. By carrying out exhaustive surveys in both historical and potentially suitable sites for these two species, we evaluated their abundance and the characteristics of their habitats, and we estimated their potential geographic distribution. We visited 22 sites, investing 672 person-hours of sampling effort in the surveys, and found 201 P. townsendi salamanders in 11 sites and only 13 T. pennatulus salamanders in 5 sites. Both species were preferentially found in cloud forest fragments that were well conserved or only moderately transformed, and some of the salamanders were found in shade coffee plantations. The potential distribution area of both species is markedly fragmented and we estimate that it has decreased by more than 48%. The results of this study highlight the importance of carrying out exhaustive, systematic field surveys to obtain accurate information about the current situation of critically endangered species, and help us better understand the crisis that amphibians are facing worldwide.

  9. Propulsive forces of mudskipper fins and salamander limbs during terrestrial locomotion: implications for the invasion of land.

    PubMed

    Kawano, Sandy M; Blob, Richard W

    2013-08-01

    The invasion of land was a pivotal event in vertebrate evolution that was associated with major appendicular modifications. Although fossils indicate that the evolution of fundamentally limb-like appendages likely occurred in aquatic environments, the functional consequences of using early digited limbs, rather than fins, for terrestrial propulsion have had little empirical investigation. Paleontological and experimental analyses both have led to the proposal of an early origin of "hind limb-driven" locomotion among tetrapods or their ancestors. However, the retention of a pectoral appendage that had already developed terrestrial adaptations has been proposed for some taxa, and few data are available from extant functional models that can provide a foundation for evaluating the relative contributions of pectoral and pelvic appendages to terrestrial support among early stem tetrapods. To examine these aspects of vertebrate locomotor evolution during the invasion of land, we measured three-dimensional ground reaction forces (GRFs) produced by isolated pectoral fins of mudskipper fishes (Periophthalmus barbarus) during terrestrial crutching, and compared these to isolated walking footfalls by the forelimbs and hind limbs of tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum), a species with subequally-sized limbs that facilitate comparisons to early tetrapods. Pectoral appendages of salamanders and mudskippers exhibited numerous differences in GRFs. Compared with salamander forelimbs, isolated fins of mudskippers bear lower vertical magnitudes of GRFs (as a proportion of body weight), and had GRFs that were oriented more medially. Comparing the salamanders' forelimbs and hind limbs, although the peak net GRF occurs later in stance for the forelimb, both limbs experience nearly identical mediolateral and vertical components of GRF, suggesting comparable contributions to support. Thus, forelimbs could also have played a significant locomotor role among basal tetrapods that had limbs

  10. Establishment of three cell lines from Chinese giant salamander and their sensitivities to the wild-type and recombinant ranavirus.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Jiang-Di; Chen, Zhong-Yuan; Huang, Xing; Gao, Xiao-Chan; Zhang, Qi-Ya

    2015-06-12

    Known as lethal pathogens, Ranaviruses have been identified in diseased fish, amphibians (including Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus, the world's largest amphibian) and reptiles, causing organ necrosis and systemic hemorrhage. Here, three Chinese giant salamander cell lines, thymus cell line (GSTC), spleen cell line (GSSC) and kidney cell line (GSKC) were initially established. Their sensitivities to ranaviruses, wild-type Andrias davidianus ranavirus (ADRV) and recombinant Rana grylio virus carrying EGFP gene (rRGV-EGFP) were tested. Temporal transcription pattern of ranavirus major capsid protein (MCP), fluorescence and electron microscopy observations showed that both the wild-type and recombinant ranavirus could replicate in the cell lines.

  11. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Depression

    PubMed Central

    Bansal, Yashika; Kuhad, Anurag

    2016-01-01

    Abstract: Background Depression is the most debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder with significant impact on socio-occupational and well being of individual. The exact pathophysiology of depression is still enigmatic though various theories have been put forwarded. There are evidences showing that mitochondrial dysfunction in various brain regions is associated with depression. Recent findings have sparked renewed appreciation for the role of mitochondria in many intracellular processes coupled to synaptic plasticity and cellular resilience. New insights in depression pathophysiology are revolving around the impairment of neuroplasticity. Mitochondria have potential role in ATP production, intracellular Ca2+ signalling to establish membrane stability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) balance and to execute the complex processes of neurotransmission and plasticity. So understanding the various concepts of mitochondrial dysfunction in pathogenesis of depression indubitably helps to generate novel and more targeted therapeutic approaches for depression treatment. Objective The review was aimed to give a comprehensive insight on role of mitochondrial dysfunction in depression. Result Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and enhancing the mitochondrial functions might act as potential target for the treatment of depression. Conclusion Literature cited in this review highly supports the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in depression. As impairment in the mitochondrial functions lead to the generation of various insults that exaggerate the pathogenesis of depression. So, it is useful to study mitochondrial dysfunction in relation to mood disorders, synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis and enhancing the functions of mitochondria might show promiscuous effects in the treatment of depressed patients. PMID:26923778

  12. Clinical mitochondrial genetics

    PubMed Central

    Chinnery, P.; Howell, N.; Andrews, R.; Turnbull, D.

    1999-01-01

    The last decade has been an age of enlightenment as far as mitochondrial pathology is concerned. Well established nuclear genetic diseases, such as Friedreich's ataxia,12 Wilson disease,3 and autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia,4 have been shown to have a mitochondrial basis, and we are just starting to unravel the complex nuclear genetic disorders which directly cause mitochondrial dysfunction (table 1). However, in addition to the 3 billion base pair nuclear genome, each human cell typically contains thousands of copies of a small, 16.5 kb circular molecule of double stranded DNA (fig 1). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) accounts for only 1% of the total cellular nucleic acid content. It encodes for 13 polypeptides which are essential for aerobic metabolism and defects of the mitochondrial genome are an important cause of human disease.9293 Since the characterisation of the first pathogenic mtDNA defects in 1988,513 over 50 point mutations and well over 100 rearrangements of the mitochondrial genome have been associated with human disease9495 (http://www.gen.emory.edu/mitomap.html). These disorders form the focus of this article.


Keywords: mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial disease; heteroplasmy; genetic counselling PMID:10874629

  13. 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

  14. Mitochondrial shaping cuts.

    PubMed

    Escobar-Henriques, Mafalda; Langer, Thomas

    2006-01-01

    A broad range of cellular processes are regulated by proteolytic events. Proteolysis has now also been established to control mitochondrial morphology which results from the balanced action of fusion and fission. Two out of three known core components of the mitochondrial fusion machinery are under proteolytic control. The GTPase Fzo1 in the outer membrane of mitochondria is degraded along two independent proteolytic pathways. One controls mitochondrial fusion in vegetatively growing cells, the other one acts upon mating factor-induced cell cycle arrest. Fusion also depends on proteolytic processing of the GTPase Mgm1 by the rhomboid protease Pcp1 in the inner membrane of mitochondria. Functional links of AAA proteases or other proteolytic components to mitochondrial dynamics are just emerging. This review summarises the current understanding of regulatory roles of proteolytic processes for mitochondrial plasticity.

  15. Mitochondrial inheritance in yeast.

    PubMed

    Westermann, Benedikt

    2014-07-01

    Mitochondria are the site of oxidative phosphorylation, play a key role in cellular energy metabolism, and are critical for cell survival and proliferation. The propagation of mitochondria during cell division depends on replication and partitioning of mitochondrial DNA, cytoskeleton-dependent mitochondrial transport, intracellular positioning of the organelle, and activities coordinating these processes. Budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has proven to be a valuable model organism to study the mechanisms that drive segregation of the mitochondrial genome and determine mitochondrial partitioning and behavior in an asymmetrically dividing cell. Here, I review past and recent advances that identified key components and cellular pathways contributing to mitochondrial inheritance in yeast. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 18th European Bioenergetic Conference. Guest Editors: Manuela Pereira and Miguel Teixeira.

  16. Evaluation of two methods for measuring nonspecific immunity in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum).

    PubMed

    Froese, Jennifer M W; Smits, Judit E G; Wickstrom, Mark L

    2005-01-01

    Study of amphibian immunotoxicology is a growing area of research, but very little information is available on how environmental contaminants affect disease resistance in urodele amphibians. Urodele amphibians lack the more highly evolved aspects of the specific immune system that are present in anurans, birds, and mammals. Instead, these animals rely more heavily on innate defense mechanisms than do anurans to provide rapid, nonspecific protection from pathogens. Thus, it is prudent that immunotoxicologic research with urodele amphibians includes an evaluation of effects of contaminant exposure on nonspecific immunity. The objectives of this study were to measure the phagocytic and oxidative-burst activity of peritoneal neutrophils collected from a urodele, the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), and to evaluate the use of these assays in immunotoxicologic research using urodele amphibians. Using tiger salamanders collected in August 2000, phagocytosis and oxidative-burst assays modified from mammalian protocols were conducted through October 2001. Results indicated that large numbers of peritoneal neutrophils for use in immunotoxicologic tests can be collected from salamanders injected with thioglycollate. Moreover, these neutrophils readily engulfed foreign material (phagocytic activity) and produced measurable amounts of hydrogen peroxide (oxidative-burst activity). Phagocytosis was effectively inhibited by incubating cells with sodium azide (P<0.001), and quantification of phagocytosis using flow cytometry was well correlated with manual counts (r=0.84, P<0.001). Dexamethasone treatment reduced phagocytic activity as measured by manual counts (P<0.02), suggesting that this test is useful for detecting alteration by immunosuppressive agents. In contrast, oxidative function was unaffected by dexamethasone treatment, and results from the oxidative-burst assay were generally less consistent than those from the phagocytosis assay. Based on these results

  17. Connexin35/36 gap junction proteins are expressed in photoreceptors of the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jian; Wu, Samuel M

    2004-02-23

    Photoreceptors in the vertebrate retina are electrically coupled with one another. Such coupling plays important roles in visual information processing. Physiological properties of rod-rod and rod-cone coupling have been best studied in the salamander retina, yet the cellular and molecular basis of these electrical synapses has not been established. Recently, connexin35/36 (Cx35/36) gap junction proteins were found to be highly expressed in brain and retina, suggesting that it may mediate photoreceptor coupling. To test this idea, we examined the cellular distribution of Cx35/36 in the salamander retina. Western blot analysis showed the expression of Cx35/36 proteins, and confocal microscopy revealed characteristic punctate Cx35/36 immunoreactivity in both synaptic layers. In addition, Cx35/36-positive plaques were detected in the outer nuclear layer (ONL) between neighboring rods, and these plaques outlined the mosaic of the rod network at a level distal to the external limiting membrane. Moreover, although Cx35/36 plaques were detected between some cones and their adjacent rods, the number and size of these plaques was smaller, and their staining intensity was diminished compared with the plaques between adjacent rods. Furthermore, Lucifer yellow injection together with confocal microscopy revealed that Cx35/36-puncta were colocalized with finlike structures of rod cell membrane, with the ultrastructure of gap junctions between paired rod fins having been found by electron microscopy. Therefore, our findings demonstrate that Cx35/36 expression in photoreceptors is primarily located between rods and to a lesser extent between rods and cones, suggesting that Cx35/36 may participate in electrical coupling between rods and between rods and cones in the salamander retina.

  18. A salamander's flexible spinal network for locomotion, modeled at two levels of abstraction.

    PubMed

    Knüsel, Jeremie; Bicanski, Andrej; Ryczko, Dimitri; Cabelguen, Jean-Marie; Ijspeert, Auke Jan

    2013-08-01

    Animals have to coordinate a large number of muscles in different ways to efficiently move at various speeds and in different and complex environments. This coordination is in large part based on central pattern generators (CPGs). These neural networks are capable of producing complex rhythmic patterns when activated and modulated by relatively simple control signals. Although the generation of particular gaits by CPGs has been successfully modeled at many levels of abstraction, the principles underlying the generation and selection of a diversity of patterns of coordination in a single neural network are still not well understood. The present work specifically addresses the flexibility of the spinal locomotor networks in salamanders. We compare an abstract oscillator model and a CPG network composed of integrate-and-fire neurons, according to their ability to account for different axial patterns of coordination, and in particular the transition in gait between swimming and stepping modes. The topology of the network is inspired by models of the lamprey CPG, complemented by additions based on experimental data from isolated spinal cords of salamanders. Oscillatory centers of the limbs are included in a way that preserves the flexibility of the axial network. Similarly to the selection of forward and backward swimming in lamprey models via different excitation to the first axial segment, we can account for the modification of the axial coordination pattern between swimming and forward stepping on land in the salamander model, via different uncoupled frequencies in limb versus axial oscillators (for the same level of excitation). These results transfer partially to a more realistic model based on formal spiking neurons, and we discuss the difference between the abstract oscillator model and the model built with formal spiking neurons.

  19. 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.

  20. Loading mechanics of the femur in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) during terrestrial locomotion.

    PubMed

    Sheffield, K Megan; Blob, Richard W

    2011-08-01

    Salamanders are often used as representatives of the basal tetrapod body plan in functional studies, but little is known about the loads experienced by their limb bones during locomotion. Although salamanders' slow walking speeds might lead to low locomotor forces and limb bone stresses similar to those of non-avian reptiles, their highly sprawled posture combined with relatively small limb bones could produce elevated limb bone stresses closer to those of avian and mammalian species. This study evaluates the loads on the femur of the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) during terrestrial locomotion using three-dimensional measurements of the ground reaction force (GRF) and hindlimb kinematics, as well as anatomical measurements of the femur and hindlimb muscles. At peak stress (29.8 ± 2.0% stance), the net GRF magnitude averaged 0.42 body weights and was directed nearly vertically for the middle 20-40% of the contact interval, essentially perpendicular to the femur. Although torsional shear stresses were significant (4.1 ± 0.3 MPa), bending stresses experienced by the femur were low compared with other vertebrate lineages (tensile: 14.9 ± 0.8 MPa; compressive: -18.9 ± 1.0 MPa), and mechanical property tests indicated yield strengths that were fairly standard for tetrapods (157.1 ± 3.7 MPa). Femoral bending safety factors (10.5) were considerably higher than values typical for birds and mammals, and closer to the elevated values calculated for reptilian species. These results suggest that high limb bone safety factors may have an ancient evolutionary history, though the underlying cause of high safety factors (e.g. low limb bone loads, high bone strength or a combination of the two) may vary among lineages.

  1. Fine-scale spatial genetic structure and dispersal among spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) breeding populations.

    PubMed

    Zamudio, Kelly R; Wieczorek, Ania M

    2007-01-01

    We examined fine-scale genetic variation among breeding aggregations of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) to quantify dispersal, interpopulation connectivity and population genetic structure. Spotted salamanders rely on temporary ponds or wetlands for aggregate breeding. Adequate breeding sites are relatively isolated from one another and field studies suggest considerable adult site fidelity; therefore, we expected to find population structure and differentiation at small spatial scales. We used microsatellites to estimate population structure and dispersal among 29 breeding aggregations in Tompkins County, New York, USA, an area encompassing 1272 km(2). Bayesian and frequency-based analyses revealed fine-scale genetic structure with two genetically defined demes: the North deme included seven breeding ponds, and the South deme included 13 ponds. Nine ponds showed evidence of admixture between these two genetic pools. Bayesian assignment tests for detection of interpopulation dispersal indicate that immigration among ponds is common within demes, and that certain populations serve as sources of immigrants to neighbouring ponds. Likewise, spatial genetic correlation analyses showed that populations < or = 4.8 km distant from each other show significant genetic correlation that is not evident at higher scales. Within-population levels of relatedness are consistently larger than expected if mating were completely random across ponds, and in the case of a few ponds, within-population processes such as inbreeding or reproductive skew contribute significantly to differentiation from neighbouring ponds. Our data underscore the importance of these within-population processes as a source of genetic diversity across the landscape, despite considerable population connectivity. Our data further suggest that spotted salamander breeding groups behave as metapopulations, with population clusters as functional units, but sufficient migration among demes to allow for

  2. Life history plasticity does not confer resilience to environmental change in the mole salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Courtney L. Davis,; David A.W. Miller,; Walls, Susan; Barichivich, William J.; Riley, Jeffrey W.; Brown, Mary E.

    2017-01-01

    Plasticity in life history strategies can be advantageous for species that occupy spatially or temporally variable environments. We examined how phenotypic plasticity influences responses of the mole salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum, to disturbance events at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (SMNWR), FL, USA from 2009 to 2014. We observed periods of extensive drought early in the study, in contrast to high rainfall and expansive flooding events in later years. Flooding facilitated colonization of predatory fishes to isolated wetlands across the refuge. We employed multistate occupancy models to determine how this natural experiment influenced the occurrence of aquatic larvae and paedomorphic adults and what implications this may have for the population. We found that, in terms of occurrence, responses to environmental variation differed between larvae and paedomorphs, but plasticity (i.e. the ability to metamorphose rather than remain in aquatic environment) was not sufficient to buffer populations from declining as a result of environmental perturbations. Drought and fish presence negatively influenced occurrence dynamics of larval and paedomorphic mole salamanders and, consequently, contributed to observed short-term declines of this species. Overall occurrence of larval salamanders decreased from 0.611 in 2009 to 0.075 in 2014 and paedomorph occurrence decreased from 0.311 in 2009 to 0.121 in 2014. Although variation in selection pressures has likely maintained this polyphenism previously, our results suggest that continued changes in environmental variability and the persistence of fish in isolated wetlands could lead to a loss of paedomorphosis in the SMNWR population and, ultimately, impact regional persistence in the future.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodd, C.K.; 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. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walls, S.C.

    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

  6. Life history plasticity does not confer resilience to environmental change in the mole salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum).

    PubMed

    Davis, Courtney L; Miller, David A W; Walls, Susan C; Barichivich, William J; Riley, Jeffrey; Brown, Mary E

    2017-03-01

    Plasticity in life history strategies can be advantageous for species that occupy spatially or temporally variable environments. We examined how phenotypic plasticity influences responses of the mole salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum, to disturbance events at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (SMNWR), FL, USA from 2009 to 2014. We observed periods of extensive drought early in the study, in contrast to high rainfall and expansive flooding events in later years. Flooding facilitated colonization of predatory fishes to isolated wetlands across the refuge. We employed multistate occupancy models to determine how this natural experiment influenced the occurrence of aquatic larvae and paedomorphic adults and what implications this may have for the population. We found that, in terms of occurrence, responses to environmental variation differed between larvae and paedomorphs, but plasticity (i.e. the ability to metamorphose rather than remain in aquatic environment) was not sufficient to buffer populations from declining as a result of environmental perturbations. Drought and fish presence negatively influenced occurrence dynamics of larval and paedomorphic mole salamanders and, consequently, contributed to observed short-term declines of this species. Overall occurrence of larval salamanders decreased from 0.611 in 2009 to 0.075 in 2014 and paedomorph occurrence decreased from 0.311 in 2009 to 0.121 in 2014. Although variation in selection pressures has likely maintained this polyphenism previously, our results suggest that continued changes in environmental variability and the persistence of fish in isolated wetlands could lead to a loss of paedomorphosis in the SMNWR population and, ultimately, impact regional persistence in the future.

  7. Elevational differences in trait response to UV-B radiation by long-toed salamander populations.

    PubMed

    Thurman, Lindsey L; Garcia, Tiffany S; Hoffman, Peter D

    2014-07-01

    Amphibian species capable of optimizing trait response to environmental stressors may develop complex strategies for defending against rapid environmental change. Trait responses may differ between populations, particularly if stressor strength varies across spatial or temporal gradients. Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation is one such stressor that poses a significant threat to amphibian species. We examined the ability of long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) at high- and low-elevation breeding sites to cooperatively employ behavioral and physiological trait responses to mediate UV-B damage. We performed a microhabitat survey to examine differences in oviposition behavior and UV-B conditions among breeding populations at high- (n = 3; >1,500 m) and low-elevation (n = 3; <100 m) sites. We found significant differences in oviposition behavior across populations, with females at high-elevation sites selecting oviposition substrates in UV-B protected microhabitats. We also collected eggs (n = 633) from each of the breeding sites for analysis of photolyase activity, a photoreactivating enzyme that repairs UV-B damage to the DNA, using a photoproduct immunoassay. Our results revealed no significant differences in photolyase activity between long-toed salamander populations at high and low elevations. For high-elevation salamander populations, relatively low physiological repair capabilities in embryos appear to be buffered by extensive behavioral modifications to reduce UV-B exposure and standardize developmental temperatures. This study provides valuable insight into environmental stress responses via the assessment of multiple traits in allowing sensitive species to persist in rapidly changing landscapes.

  8. 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.

  9. Dopaminergic modulation and rod contribution in the generation of oscillatory potentials in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Perry, B; George, J S

    2007-02-01

    The roles of rod and cone input and of dopamine in the generation of oscillatory potentials were studied in tiger salamander retina. Under scotopic conditions, oscillations were elicited with a green, but not a red stimulus. With mesopic background illumination, both stimuli caused oscillations. Addition of quinpirole to a mesopic retina eliminated oscillations while SKF-38393 had no effect. Similarly, addition of sulpiride to a light-adapted retina elicited oscillatory activity, but SCH 22390 had no effect. These results suggest that oscillatory potentials are elicited through activation of the rod pathway and are modulated by dopamine through D2-receptors.

  10. Antimicrobial peptide defenses in the salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, against emerging amphibian pathogens.

    PubMed

    Sheafor, Brandon; Davidson, Elizabeth W; Parr, Luke; Rollins-Smith, Louise

    2008-04-01

    Skin peptides were collected from living Ambystoma tigrinum larvae and adults and tested against two emerging pathogens, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and the Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV), as well as bacteria isolated from A. tigrinum. Natural mixtures of skin peptides were found to inhibit growth of B. dendrobatidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella sp., but activity against ATV was unpredictable. Skin peptides collected from salamanders held at three environmentally relevant temperatures differed in activity against B. dendrobatidis. Activity of the A. tigrinum skin peptides was found to be strongly influenced by pH.

  11. A new species of lentic breeding Korean salamander of the genus Hynobius (Amphibia, Urodela).

    PubMed

    Kim, Jong-Bum; Min, Mi-Sook; Matsui, Masafumi

    2003-09-01

    A new species of salamander, Hynobius yangi, is described from Kori (=Hyoam-ri), Busan-shi, southeastern Korea. It is a lentic breeder belonging to the H. nebulosus species group, and has long been confused with another Korean species H. leechii. The new species, however, is genetically substantially differentiated from Korean and Japanese relatives. Hynobius yangi is morphologically very similar to H. leechii, but could be differentiated from it by the tail shape, degree of limb separation, shape of vomerine teeth series, shape of egg sac, and dorsal coloration.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Mitochondrial ion circuits.

    PubMed

    Nicholls, David G

    2010-01-01

    Proton circuits across the inner mitochondrial membrane link the primary energy generators, namely the complexes of the electron transport chain, to multiple energy utilizing processes, including the ATP synthase, inherent proton leak pathways, metabolite transport and linked circuits of sodium and calcium. These mitochondrial circuits can be monitored in both isolated preparations and intact cells and, for the primary proton circuit techniques, exist to follow both the proton current and proton electrochemical potential components of the circuit in parallel experiments, providing a quantitative means of assessing mitochondrial function and, equally importantly, dysfunction.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Transcriptome analysis of predator- and prey-induced phenotypic plasticity in the Hokkaido salamander (Hynobius retardatus).

    PubMed

    Matsunami, Masatoshi; Kitano, Jun; Kishida, Osamu; Michimae, Hirofumi; Miura, Toru; Nishimura, Kinya

    2015-06-01

    Predator- and prey-induced phenotypic plasticity is widely observed among amphibian species. Although ecological factors inducing diverse phenotypic responses have been extensively characterized, we know little about the molecular bases of variation in phenotypic plasticity. Larvae of the Hokkaido salamander, Hynobius retardatus, exhibit two distinct morphs: the presence of their prey, Rana pirica tadpoles, induces a broad-headed attack morph, and the presence of predatory dragonfly nymphs (Aeshna nigroflava) induces a defence morph with enlarged external gills and a high tail. To compare the genes involved in predator- and prey-induced phenotypic plasticity, we carried out a de novo transcriptome analysis of Hokkaido salamander larvae exposed to either prey or predator individuals. First, we found that the number of genes involved in the expression of the defence morph was approximately five times the number involved in the expression of the attack morph. This result is consistent with the fact that the predator-induced plasticity involves more drastic morphological changes than the prey-induced plasticity. Second, we found that particular sets of genes were upregulated during the induction of both the attack and defence morphs, but others were specific to the expression of one or the other morph. Because both shared and unique molecular mechanisms were used in the expression of each morph, the evolution of a new plastic phenotype might involve both the co-option of pre-existing molecular mechanisms and the acquisition of novel regulatory mechanisms.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Environment-dependent admixture dynamics in a tiger salamander hybrid zone.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2004-06-01

    After an estimated five million years of independent evolution, the barred tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium) was introduced by bait dealers into the native range of the California tiger salamander (A. californiense). Hybridization and backcrossing have been occurring in central California for 50-60 years, or an estimated 15-30 generations. We studied genetic and ecological factors influencing admixture of these two divergent gene pools by analyzing frequencies of hybrid genotypes in three kinds of breeding habitats: natural vernal pools, ephemeral man-made cattle ponds, and perennial man-made ponds. Perennial ponds tended to have higher frequencies of nonnative alleles than either type of seasonal pond, even in cases where perennial and seasonal ponds are within a few hundred meters. Thus, the hybrid zone has a mosaic structure that depends on pond hydrology or ecology. The presence of some broadly acting constraints on admixture is suggested by linkage disequilibria between physically unlinked molecular markers within ponds. In addition, we found several marker-specific deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. One marker showed a consistent deficit of heterozygotes across pond types. Another showed heterozygote deficits only in vernal pools. A third was more likely to have heterozygote excess in ephemeral cattle ponds. These patterns indicate that admixture is influenced by complex genotype-by-environment interactions.

  1. Differential effects of mate competition and mate choice on eastern tiger salamanders

    PubMed

    Howard; Moorman; Whiteman

    1997-06-01

    Male tiger salamanders, Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinumare slightly larger in body size and have considerably higher and longer tails than females. To determine how these dimorphic traits affected reproductive performance and success, we conducted breeding trials using 12 males and six females per trial and monitored male-female and male-male interactions. Larger males had an advantage in most aspects of mate competition investigated. Males with higher tails had no advantage in either mate competition or mate choice. Males with longer tails also had no advantage in mate competition but were preferred as mates by females. Larger males interrupted courting males more often than smaller males did. The form of male-male interference was conditional on body size and not on either tail dimension. If the intruder was larger than the courting male, it would shove the female away from the courting male and initiate courtship; if the intruder was smaller, it adopted a female mimicry tactic in which it positioned itself between the courting male and female and performed female behaviours to the courting male while simultaneously courting the female. Our trials indicated that the two components of sexual selection may influence the evolution of different male morphological traits in tiger salamanders. Mate competition may favour increased male body length; mate choice may select for greater male tail length.

  2. Introduction history and habitat variation explain the landscape genetics of hybrid tiger salamanders.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2007-03-01

    Genetic introgression from introduced species into native populations is a growing challenge for biological conservation, and one that raises unique practical and ethical issues. Here, we describe the extent of introgression between native California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) and introduced barred tiger salamanders (A. tigrinum mavortium) relative to habitat, distance from introduction sites, and watershed boundaries. We used ancestry informative markers (AIMs) to characterize the degree of introgression at 85 sites within the range of A. californiense. Eight unlinked markers showed concordant patterns, indicating that different chromosomal segments are introgressing at similar rates. The current distribution of introduced alleles is largely contained in the Salinas Valley, California. Within it, the distribution of nonnative alleles was best explained at a broad geographic scale by the history of introductions, with limited introgression beyond 12 km from multiple independent release sites. The spatial transition from highly admixed to nearly pure native populations was abrupt, suggesting either cryptic barriers to dispersal or locally rapid displacement of natives by an advancing hybrid swarm. At a more ecological level, highly modified perennial breeding ponds had higher introduced allele frequencies than more natural seasonal ponds, suggesting greater invasion success in perennial breeding ponds. Management favoring natural habitat characteristics may substantially decrease the rate of spread of introduced alleles.

  3. Polymorphism of alternative splicing of major histocompatibility complex transcripts in wild tiger salamanders.

    PubMed

    Bulut, Zafer; McCormick, Cory R; Bos, David H; DeWoody, J Andrew

    2008-07-01

    Alternative splicing (AS) of mRNA transcripts is increasingly recognized as a source of transcriptome diversity. To date, most AS studies have focused either on comparisons across taxa or on intragenomic comparisons across gene families. We generated a novel data set that represents one of the first population genetic comparisons of AS across individuals. In ambystomatid salamanders, AS of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class IIbeta gene (Amti-DAB) produces two transcripts, one full-length and one truncated. The full-length transcript is functional, but the truncated transcript is missing the critical beta1 domain that forms half of the peptide binding region in the intact MHC class II molecule. We captured wild salamander larvae (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum) and genotyped them at Amti-DAB via DNA sequencing. From these same larvae, we extracted RNA from gill and spleen and evaluated the relative expression level of Amti-DAB in each tissue. Across individuals, 21% of the transcripts were truncated (alternatively spliced), and the absolute level of alternative transcript expression was higher in gill. The high level of nucleotide variation among seven Amti-DAB alleles provides the ability to detect substitutions (or linked DNA polymorphisms) that might have influenced AS. The data reveal no correlation between AS and haplotype, allele, or zygosity. However, indirect evidence (comparative expression patterns across 3 million years of evolution) suggests that the truncated Amti-DAB transcript may be functional and maintained by natural selection.

  4. Larval growth in polyphenic salamanders: making the best of a bad lot.

    PubMed

    Whiteman, H H; Wissinger, S A; Denoël, M; Mecklin, C J; Gerlanc, N M; Gutrich, J J

    2012-01-01

    Polyphenisms are excellent models for studying phenotypic variation, yet few studies have focused on natural populations. Facultative paedomorphosis is a polyphenism in which salamanders either metamorphose or retain their larval morphology and eventually become paedomorphic. Paedomorphosis can result from selection for capitalizing on favorable aquatic habitats (paedomorph advantage), but could also be a default strategy under poor aquatic conditions (best of a bad lot). We tested these alternatives by quantifying how the developmental environment influences the ontogeny of wild Arizona tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum). Most paedomorphs in our study population arose from slow-growing larvae that developed under high density and size-structured conditions (best of a bad lot), although a few faster-growing larvae also became paedomorphic (paedomorph advantage). Males were more likely to become paedomorphs than females and did so under a greater range of body sizes than females, signifying a critical role for gender in this polyphenism. Our results emphasize that the same phenotype can be adaptive under different environmental and genetic contexts and that studies of phenotypic variation should consider multiple mechanisms of morph production.

  5. Identification of Mutant Genes and Introgressed Tiger Salamander DNA in the Laboratory Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum.

    PubMed

    Woodcock, M Ryan; Vaughn-Wolfe, Jennifer; Elias, Alexandra; Kump, D Kevin; Kendall, Katharina Denise; Timoshevskaya, Nataliya; Timoshevskiy, Vladimir; Perry, Dustin W; Smith, Jeramiah J; Spiewak, Jessica E; Parichy, David M; Voss, S Randal

    2017-12-01

    The molecular genetic toolkit of the Mexican axolotl, a classic model organism, has matured to the point where it is now possible to identify genes for mutant phenotypes. We used a positional cloning-candidate gene approach to identify molecular bases for two historic axolotl pigment phenotypes: white and albino. White (d/d) mutants have defects in pigment cell morphogenesis and differentiation, whereas albino (a/a) mutants lack melanin. We identified in white mutants a transcriptional defect in endothelin 3 (edn3), encoding a peptide factor that promotes pigment cell migration and differentiation in other vertebrates. Transgenic restoration of Edn3 expression rescued the homozygous white mutant phenotype. We mapped the albino locus to tyrosinase (tyr) and identified polymorphisms shared between the albino allele (tyr (a) ) and tyr alleles in a Minnesota population of tiger salamanders from which the albino trait was introgressed. tyr (a) has a 142 bp deletion and similar engineered alleles recapitulated the albino phenotype. Finally, we show that historical introgression of tyr (a) significantly altered genomic composition of the laboratory axolotl, yielding a distinct, hybrid strain of ambystomatid salamander. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of identifying genes for traits in the laboratory Mexican axolotl.

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

    PubMed

    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 2 mm to 2 cm 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Structured decision making as a conservation tool for recovery planning of two endangered salamanders

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Donnell, Katherine; Messerman, Arianne F; Barichivich, William J.; Semlitsch, Raymond D.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Mitchell, Harold G; Allan, Nathan; Fenolio, Dante B.; Green, Adam; Johnson, Fred A.; Keever, Allison; Mandica, Mark; Martin, Julien; Mott, Jana; Peacock, Terry; Reinman, Joseph; Romanach, Stephanie; Titus, Greg; McGowan, Conor; Walls, Susan

    2017-01-01

    At least one-third of all amphibian species face the threat of extinction, and current amphibian extinction rates are four orders of magnitude greater than background rates. Preventing extirpation often requires both ex situ (i.e., conservation breeding programs) and in situ strategies (i.e., protecting natural habitats). Flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma bishopi and A. cingulatum) are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The two species have decreased from 476 historical locations to 63 recently extant locations (86.8% loss). We suggest that recovery efforts are needed to increase populations and prevent extinction, but uncertainty regarding optimal actions in both ex situ and in situ realms hinders recovery planning. We used structured decision making (SDM) to address key uncertainties regarding both captive breeding and habitat restoration, and we developed short-, medium-, and long-term goals to achieve recovery objectives. By promoting a transparent, logical approach, SDM has proven vital to recovery plan development for flatwoods salamanders. The SDM approach has clear advantages over other previous approaches to recovery efforts, and we suggest that it should be considered for other complex decisions regarding endangered species.

  12. Population structure of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in a fragmented landscape.

    PubMed

    Purrenhage, J L; Niewiarowski, P H; Moore, F B-G

    2009-01-01

    Understanding the impacts of landscape-level processes on the population biology of amphibians is critical, especially for species inhabiting anthropogenically modified landscapes. Many pond-breeding amphibians are presumed to exist as metapopulations, but few studies demonstrate the extent and consequences of this metapopulation structure. Gene flow measures may facilitate the construction of more realistic models of population structure than direct measures of migration. This is especially true for species that are cryptic, such as many amphibians. We used eight polymorphic microsatellite loci to determine the genetic population structure of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) breeding at 17 ponds in northeastern Ohio, a landscape fragmented by roads, agriculture, urban areas and the Cuyahoga River. Using a variety of analyses (Bayesian clustering, F-statistics, AMOVA) we generated a model of salamander population genetic structure. Our data revealed patterns of genetic connectivity that were not predicted by geographical distances between ponds (no isolation by distance). We also tested for a relationship between population structure and several indices of landscape resistance, but found no effect of potential barriers to dispersal on genetic connectivity. Strong overall connectivity among ponds, despite the hostile habitat matrix, may be facilitated by a network of riparian corridors associated with the Cuyahoga River; however, high gene flow in this system may indicate a general ability to disperse and colonize beyond particular corridors.

  13. Early gene expression during natural spinal cord regeneration in the salamander Ambystoma mexicanum.

    PubMed

    Monaghan, James R; Walker, John A; Page, Robert B; Putta, Srikrishna; Beachy, Christopher K; Voss, S Randal

    2007-04-01

    In contrast to mammals, salamanders have a remarkable ability to regenerate their spinal cord and recover full movement and function after tail amputation. To identify genes that may be associated with this greater regenerative ability, we designed an oligonucleotide microarray and profiled early gene expression during natural spinal cord regeneration in Ambystoma mexicanum. We sampled tissue at five early time points after tail amputation and identified genes that registered significant changes in mRNA abundance during the first 7 days of regeneration. A list of 1036 statistically significant genes was identified. Additional statistical and fold change criteria were applied to identify a smaller list of 360 genes that were used to describe predominant expression patterns and gene functions. Our results show that a diverse injury response is activated in concert with extracellular matrix remodeling mechanisms during the early acute phase of natural spinal cord regeneration. We also report gene expression similarities and differences between our study and studies that have profiled gene expression after spinal cord injury in rat. Our study illustrates the utility of a salamander model for identifying genes and gene functions that may enhance regenerative ability in mammals.

  14. Ultrastructural morphogenesis of an amphibian iridovirus isolated from Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus).

    PubMed

    Ma, J; Zeng, L; Zhou, Y; Jiang, N; Zhang, H; Fan, Y; Meng, Y; Xu, J

    2014-01-01

    Haemorrhagic disease of Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) (CGSs) is an emerging condition caused by an iridovirus of the genus Ranavirus within the family Iridoviridae. Several studies have described different biological properties of the virus, but some aspects of its replication cycle, including ultrastructural alterations, remain unknown. The aim of the present study was to describe the morphogenesis of Chinese giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV) in an epithelioma papulosum cyprinid (EPC) cell line at the ultrastructural level. Cells were infected with GSIV at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10 and examined at 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, 84 and 96 h post infection. GSIV entered EPC cells by endocytosis or fusion after adsorption to the cell membrane. Following uncoating, the viral cores translocated to the nucleus and the virus began to replicate. Different stages of virus self-assembly were observed in the slightly electron-lucent viromatrix near the cell nucleus. In the late phase of virus infection, most nucleocapsids were mature and formed a typical icosahedral shape and aggregated in pseudocrystalline array at the viromatrix or were budding at the plasma membrane. Virus infection was readily detected by electron microscopy before cytopathic effect appeared in cell culture. The EPC cell line represents a suitable in-vitro model for study of GSIV morphogenesis and characterization of the GSIV replication cycle.

  15. Characterization of Chinese giant salamander iridovirus tissue tropism and inflammatory response after infection.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Nan; Fan, Yuding; Zhou, Yong; Liu, Wenzhi; Ma, Jie; Meng, Yan; Xie, Congxin; Zeng, Lingbing

    2015-06-03

    The Chinese giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV), belonging to the genus Ranavirus in the family Iridoviridae, causes severe hemorrhagic lesions and nearly 100% mortality in naturally infected Chinese giant salamanders Andrias davidiamus. However, the replication and distribution of the virus has not been well characterized in vivo. Using in situ hybridization, the expression of the GSIV major capsid protein (MCP) was detected in the cytoplasm of cells of the spleen, kidney, liver and gut tissues. MCP expression in the spleen and kidney appeared to fluctuate significantly during the acute phase of infection. Using an immunofluorescence assay, GSIV antigens were abundant in the spleen and kidney tissues but appeared to be at relatively low levels in the liver and gut. Additionally, there were significant changes in the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in different tissues in response to infection with GSIV. The expression of MIF, TNF-α and IL-1β had significantly increased in the spleen at 3 d post-infection; this correlated with a decrease in virus replication in the spleen. These results suggest that the spleen and kidney are the major target tissues of GSIV, and the increased expression of MIF, TNF‑α and IL-1β may contribute to a reduction of virus replication in the spleen.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Environmental correlates of species and genetic richness in lungless salamanders (family plethodontidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, Jeremy L.; Camp, Carlos D.

    2006-01-01

    Biological diversity is distributed across the planet in non-random, organised ways. At the species level, numerous environmental variables have been proposed to explain this non-random distribution with available energy and habitat heterogeneity receiving the most empirical support. With regard to genetic organisation, environmental stress and habitat heterogeneity have been widely supported. However, few studies have addressed if these two scales of biological organisation are structured via similar processes. Here, we tested whether or not the distributional organisation of genetic and species richness were driven by similar environmental variables for salamanders of the family Plethodontidae across North America. In general, we found that those environmental variables related to energy, particularly energy made accessible to salamanders via the actions of available moisture, were the primary determinants of both genetic and species richness. This finding is consistent with both the "more individuals hypothesis" of species richness and neutral-theory expectations for genetic richness. Additionally, greater habitat heterogeneity, as measured by increased topographic variance, was of secondary importance in positively influencing species richness, although its effects on genetic richness were far more variable. In total, our results suggest that both of these scales of biological organisation are influenced by similar environmental variables, even though increased genetic richness at the population-level does not always translate into greater species richness.

  20. 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.

  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.

  2. 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

    2015-06-30

    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.

  3. Lessons from the swamp: developing small molecules that confer salamander muscle cellularization in mammals.

    PubMed

    Um, JungIn; Jung, Da-Woon; Williams, Darren Reece

    2017-12-01

    The ability of salamanders, such as newts, to regenerate damaged tissues has been studied for centuries. A prominent example of this regenerative power is the ability to re-grow entire amputated limbs. One important step in this regeneration process is skeletal muscle cellularization, in which the muscle fibers break down into dedifferentiated, mononuclear cells that proliferate and form new muscle in the replacement limb. In contrast, mammalian skeletal muscle does not undergo cellularization after injury. A significant proportion of research about tissue regeneration in salamanders aims to characterize regulatory genes that may have mammalian homologs. A less mainstream approach is to develop small molecule compounds that induce regeneration-related mechanisms in mammals. In this commentary, we discuss progress in discovering small molecules that induce cellularization in mammalian muscle. New research findings using these compounds has also shed light on cellular processes that regulate cellularization, such as apoptotic signaling. Although formidable technical hurdles remain, this progress increases our understanding of tissue regeneration and provide opportunities for developing small molecules that may enhance tissue repair in humans.

  4. Retrotransposon long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) is activated during salamander limb regeneration.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Wei; Kuo, Dwight; Nathanson, Jason; Satoh, Akira; Pao, Gerald M; Yeo, Gene W; Bryant, Susan V; Voss, S Randal; Gardiner, David M; Hunter, Tony

    2012-09-01

    Salamanders possess an extraordinary capacity for tissue and organ regeneration when compared to mammals. In our effort to characterize the unique transcriptional fingerprint emerging during the early phase of salamander limb regeneration, we identified transcriptional activation of some germline-specific genes within the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) that is indicative of cellular reprogramming of differentiated cells into a germline-like state. In this work, we focus on one of these genes, the long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon, which is usually active in germ cells and silent in most of the somatic tissues in other organisms. LINE-1 was found to be dramatically upregulated during regeneration. In addition, higher genomic LINE-1 content was also detected in the limb regenerate when compared to that before amputation indicating that LINE-1 retrotransposition is indeed active during regeneration. Active LINE-1 retrotransposition has been suggested to have a potentially deleterious impact on genomic integrity. Silencing of activated LINE-1 by small RNAs has been reported to be part of the machinery aiming to maintain genomic integrity. Indeed, we were able to identify putative LINE-1-related piRNAs in the limb blastema. Transposable element-related piRNAs have been identified frequently in the germline in other organisms. Thus, we present here a scenario in which a unique germline-like state is established during axolotl limb regeneration, and the re-activation of LINE-1 may serve as a marker for cellular dedifferentiation in the early-stage of limb regeneration.

  5. Mitochondrial biogenesis: pharmacological approaches.

    PubMed

    Valero, Teresa

    2014-01-01

    Organelle biogenesis is concomitant to organelle inheritance during cell division. It is necessary that organelles double their size and divide to give rise to two identical daughter cells. Mitochondrial biogenesis occurs by growth and division of pre-existing organelles and is temporally coordinated with cell cycle events [1]. However, mitochondrial biogenesis is not only produced in association with cell division. It can be produced in response to an oxidative stimulus, to an increase in the energy requirements of the cells, to exercise training, to electrical stimulation, to hormones, during development, in certain mitochondrial diseases, etc. [2]. Mitochondrial biogenesis is therefore defined as the process via which cells increase their individual mitochondrial mass [3]. Recent discoveries have raised attention to mitochondrial biogenesis as a potential target to treat diseases which up to date do not have an efficient cure. Mitochondria, as the major ROS producer and the major antioxidant producer exert a crucial role within the cell mediating processes such as apoptosis, detoxification, Ca2+ buffering, etc. This pivotal role makes mitochondria a potential target to treat a great variety of diseases. Mitochondrial biogenesis can be pharmacologically manipulated. This issue tries to cover a number of approaches to treat several diseases through triggering mitochondrial biogenesis. It contains recent discoveries in this novel field, focusing on advanced mitochondrial therapies to chronic and degenerative diseases, mitochondrial diseases, lifespan extension, mitohormesis, intracellular signaling, new pharmacological targets and natural therapies. It contributes to the field by covering and gathering the scarcely reported pharmacological approaches in the novel and promising field of mitochondrial biogenesis. There are several diseases that have a mitochondrial origin such as chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO) and the Kearns- Sayre syndrome (KSS

  6. Cloning, sequence analysis and expression profiles of Toll-like receptor 7 from Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus.

    PubMed

    Huang, Lili; Fan, Yuding; Zhou, Yong; Jiang, Nan; Liu, Wenzhi; Meng, Yan; Zeng, Lingbing

    2015-06-01

    The Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus, is the largest extant amphibian species in the world, which is of significance due to its specific position in the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Currently, limited information about the innate immune system of this animal is known. In this study, the toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), designated CgsTLR7, was cloned from Chinese giant salamander, A. davidianus. The full-length cDNA of CgsTLR7 is 3747 bp, with an open reading frame of 3150 bp, encoding 1049 amino acids. The TLR family motifs, including the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) and Toll/interleukin (IL)-1 receptor (TIR) domain are conserved in CgsTLR7, which includes 19 LRRs and a TIR domain. The predicted amino acid sequence of CgsTLR7 has 71%, 65%, 63% and 55% identity with turtle, chicken, human and fugu TLR7 homologues, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed that CgsTLR7 is closest to that of frog TLR7 among the examined species. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed broad expression of CgsTLR7 in tissues from apparently healthy Chinese giant salamanders with the highest expression in the liver and the lowest expression in the intestine. The mRNA expression was up-regulated and reached a peak level in the kidney, liver and spleen at 12 h, 24 h and 48 h after infecting the animals with the giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV), respectively. These results suggest that CgsTLR7 has a conserved gene structure and might play an important role in immune regulation against viral infections in the Chinese giant salamander.

  7. Mitochondrial protection by resveratrol.

    PubMed

    Ungvari, Zoltan; Sonntag, William E; de Cabo, Rafael; Baur, Joseph A; Csiszar, Anna

    2011-07-01

    Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are thought to play important roles in mammalian aging. Resveratrol is a plant-derived polyphenol that exerts diverse antiaging activities, mimicking some of the molecular and functional effects of dietary restriction. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial protective effects of resveratrol, which could be exploited for the prevention or amelioration of age-related diseases in the elderly.

  8. Peripheral neuropathy in mitochondrial disorders.

    PubMed

    Pareyson, Davide; Piscosquito, Giuseppe; Moroni, Isabella; Salsano, Ettore; Zeviani, Massimo

    2013-10-01

    Why is peripheral neuropathy common but mild in many mitochondrial disorders, and why is it, in some cases, the predominant or only manifestation? Although this question remains largely unanswered, recent advances in cellular and molecular biology have begun to clarify the importance of mitochondrial functioning and distribution in the peripheral nerve. Mutations in proteins involved in mitochondrial dynamics (ie, fusion and fission) frequently result in a Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype. Peripheral neuropathies with different phenotypic presentations occur in mitochondrial diseases associated with abnormalities in mitochondrial DNA replication and maintenance, or associated with defects in mitochondrial respiratory chain complex V. Our knowledge of mitochondrial disorders is rapidly growing as new nuclear genes are identified and new phenotypes described. Early diagnosis of mitochondrial disorders, essential to provide appropriate genetic counselling, has become crucial in a few treatable conditions. Recognising and diagnosing an underlying mitochondrial defect in patients presenting with peripheral neuropathy is therefore of paramount importance.

  9. Mitochondrial diseases: therapeutic approaches.

    PubMed

    DiMauro, Salvatore; Mancuso, Michelangelo

    2007-06-01

    Therapy of mitochondrial encephalomyopathies (defined restrictively as defects of the mitochondrial respiratory chain) is woefully inadequate, despite great progress in our understanding of the molecular bases of these disorders. In this review, we consider sequentially several different therapeutic approaches. Palliative therapy is dictated by good medical practice and includes anticonvulsant medication, control of endocrine dysfunction, and surgical procedures. Removal of noxious metabolites is centered on combating lactic acidosis, but extends to other metabolites. Attempts to bypass blocks in the respiratory chain by administration of electron acceptors have not been successful, but this may be amenable to genetic engineering. Administration of metabolites and cofactors is the mainstay of real-life therapy and is especially important in disorders due to primary deficiencies of specific compounds, such as carnitine or coenzyme Q10. There is increasing interest in the administration of reactive oxygen species scavengers both in primary mitochondrial diseases and in neurodegenerative diseases directly or indirectly related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Aerobic exercise and physical therapy prevent or correct deconditioning and improve exercise tolerance in patients with mitochondrial myopathies due to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. Gene therapy is a challenge because of polyplasmy and heteroplasmy, but interesting experimental approaches are being pursued and include, for example, decreasing the ratio of mutant to wild-type mitochondrial genomes (gene shifting), converting mutated mtDNA genes into normal nuclear DNA genes (allotopic expression), importing cognate genes from other species, or correcting mtDNA mutations with specific restriction endonucleases. Germline therapy raises ethical problems but is being considered for prevention of maternal transmission of mtDNA mutations. Preventive therapy through genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis is

  10. Distribution and Abundance of California Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus) and Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) in the Upper Redwood Creek Watershed, Marin County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fong, Darren; Howell, Judd A.

    2006-01-01

    A survey was conducted in 1997-1998 to identify the distribution of non-native signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and larval California giant salamanders (Dicamptodon ensatus) within the upper Redwood Creek watershed (Marin County, California). The crayfish is widely distributed along the mainstem Redwood Creek. It was found in lower Fern Creek but not in any first order tributaries or above fish barriers. While present throughout the study area, larval California giant salamanders were found mainly in small headwater tributaries. Larval salamanders appear to use habitats in accordance to their availability, while signal crayfish were rarely found in shallow water habitats and appeared to prefer scour pools. Evidence of predation by signal crayfish on larval giant salamanders was found under confined conditions. Controlled laboratory and field experiments would be needed to determine whether competitive exclusion is occurring. Because of its widespread occurrence in the headwater streams surveyed in this project, California giant salamanders would be an appropriate indicator species for those interested in monitoring the health of small headwater streams. Future long-term monitoring using California giant salamanders should be based on permanent monitoring reaches with periodic basinwide habitat and animal surveys to determine if reaches are representative of basinwide conditions.

  11. How mitochondrial dynamism orchestrates mitophagy

    PubMed Central

    Shirihai, Orian; Song, Moshi; Dorn, Gerald W

    2015-01-01

    Mitochondria are highly dynamic, except in adult cardiomyocytes. Yet, the fission and fusion-promoting proteins that mediate mitochondrial dynamism are highly expressed in, and essential to the normal functioning of, hearts. Here, we review accumulating evidence supporting important roles for mitochondrial fission and fusion in cardiac mitochondrial quality control, focusing on the PINK1-Parkin mitophagy pathway.Based in part on recent findings from in vivo mouse models in which mitofusin-mediated mitochondrial fusion or Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission were conditionally interrupted in cardiac myocytes, we propose several new concepts that may provide insight into the cardiac mitochondrial dynamism-mitophagy interactome. PMID:25999423

  12. Identification and distribution of photoreceptor subtypes in the neotenic tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Sherry, D M; Bui, D D; Degrip, W J

    1998-01-01

    The neotenic tiger salamander retina is a major model system for the study of retinal physiology and circuitry, yet there are unresolved issues regarding the organization of the photoreceptors and the photoreceptor mosaic. The rod and cone subtypes in the salamander retina were identified using a combination of morphological and immunocytochemical markers for specific rod and cone opsin epitopes. Because the visual pigment mechanisms present in the tiger salamander retina are well characterized and the antibodies employed in these studies are specific for particular rod and cone opsin epitopes, we also were able to identify the spectral class of the various rod and cone subtypes. Two classes of rods corresponding to the "red" and "green" rods previously reported in amphibian retinas were identified. In serial semithin section analyses, rods and cones comprised 62.4+/-1.4% and 37.6+/-1.4% of all photoreceptors, respectively. One rod type comprising 98.0+/-0.7% of all rods showed the immunological and morphological characteristics of "red" rods, which are maximally sensitive to middle wavelengths. The second rod subtype comprised 2.0+/-0.7% of all rods and possessed the immunological and morphological characteristics of "green" rods, which are maximally sensitive to short wavelengths. By morphology four cone types were identified, showing three distinct immunological signatures. Most cones (84.8+/-1.5% of all cones), including most large single cones, the accessory and principal members of the double cone, and some small single cones, showed immunolabeling by antisera that recognize long wavelength-sensitive cone opsins. A subpopulation of small single cones (8.4+/-1.7% of all cones) showed immunolabeling for short wavelength-sensitive cone opsin. A separate subpopulation of single cones which included both large and small types (6.8+/-1.4% of all cones) was identified as the UV-Cone population and showed immunolabeling by antibodies that recognize rod opsin epitopes

  13. Acid water interferes with salamander-green algae symbiosis during early embryonic development.

    PubMed

    Bianchini, Kristin; Tattersall, Glenn J; Sashaw, Jessica; Porteus, Cosima S; Wright, Patricia A

    2012-01-01

    The inner egg capsule of embryos of the yellow-spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) are routinely colonized by green algae, such as Oophila amblystomatis, that supply O(2) in the presence of light and may consume nitrogenous wastes, forming what has been proposed to be a mutualistic relationship. Given that A. maculatum have been reported to breed in acidic (pH <5.0) and neutral lakes, we hypothesized that low water pH would negatively affect these symbiotic organisms and alter the gradients within the jelly mass. Oxygen gradients were detected within jelly masses measured directly in a natural breeding pond (pH 4.5-4.8) at midday in full sunlight. In the lab, embryo jelly masses reared continuously at pH 4.5 had lower P(O)₂and higher ammonia levels relative to jelly masses held at pH 8.0 (control). Ammonia and lactate concentrations in embryonic tissues were approximately 37%-93% higher, respectively, in embryos reared at water pH 4.5 compared with pH 8.0. Mass was also reduced in embryos reared at pH 4.5 versus pH 8.0. In addition, light conditions (24 h light, 12L : 12D, or 24 h dark) and embryonic position (periphery vs. center) in the jelly mass affected P(O)₂but not ammonia gradients, suggesting that algal symbionts generate O(2) but do not significantly impact local ammonia concentrations, regardless of the pH of the water. We conclude that chronic exposure to acidic breeding ponds had a profound effect on the microenvironment of developing A. maculatum embryos, which in turn resulted in an elevation of potentially harmful metabolic end products and inhibited growth. Under acidic conditions, the expected benefit provided by the algae to the salamander embryo (i.e., high O(2) and low ammonia microenvironment) is compromised, suggesting that the A. maculatum-algal mutualism is beneficial to salamanders only at higher water pH values.

  14. Can the eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) persist in an acidified landscape?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bondi, Cheryl A; Beier, Colin M.; Ducey, Peter K; Lawrence, Gregory B.; Bailey, Scott W.

    2016-01-01

    Hardwood forests of eastern North America have experienced decades of acidic deposition, leading to soil acidification where base cation supply was insufficient to neutralize acid inputs. Negative impacts of soil acidity on amphibians include disrupted embryonic development, lower growth rates, and habitat loss. However, some amphibians exhibit intraspecific variation in acid tolerance, suggesting the potential for local adaptation in areas where soils are naturally acidic. The eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is a highly abundant top predator of the northern hardwood forest floor. Early research found that P. cinereus was sensitive to acidic soils, avoiding substrates with pH < 3.8 and experiencing decreased growth rates in acidic habitats. However, recent studies have documented P. cinereus populations in lower pH conditions than previously observed, suggesting some populations may persist in acidic conditions. Here, we evaluated relationships between organic horizon soil pH and P. cinereus abundance, adult health (body size and condition), and microhabitat selection, based on surveys of 34 hardwood forests in northeastern United States that encompass a regional soil pH gradient. We found no associations between soil pH and P. cinereus abundance or health, and observed that this salamander used substrates with pH similar to that available, suggesting that pH does not mediate their fine-scale distributions. The strongest negative predictor of P. cinereus abundance was the presence of dusky salamanders (Desmognathus spp.), which were most abundant in the western Adirondacks. Our results indicate that P. cinereus occupies a wider range of soil pH than has been previously thought, which has implications for their functional role in forest food webs and nutrient cycles in acid-impaired ecosystems. Tolerance of P. cinereus for more acidic habitats, including anthropogenically acidified forests, may be due to local adaptation in

  15. The Spectrum of Mitochondrial Ultrastructural Defects in Mitochondrial Myopathy

    PubMed Central

    Vincent, Amy E.; Ng, Yi Shiau; White, Kathryn; Davey, Tracey; Mannella, Carmen; Falkous, Gavin; Feeney, Catherine; Schaefer, Andrew M.; McFarland, Robert; Gorman, Grainne S.; Taylor, Robert W.; Turnbull, Doug M.; Picard, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Mitochondrial functions are intrinsically linked to their morphology and membrane ultrastructure. Characterizing abnormal mitochondrial structural features may thus provide insight into the underlying pathogenesis of inherited and acquired mitochondrial diseases. Following a systematic literature review on ultrastructural defects in mitochondrial myopathy, we investigated skeletal muscle biopsies from seven subjects with genetically defined mtDNA mutations. Mitochondrial ultrastructure and morphology were characterized using two complimentary approaches: transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and serial block face scanning EM (SBF-SEM) with 3D reconstruction. Six ultrastructural abnormalities were identified including i) paracrystalline inclusions, ii) linearization of cristae and abnormal angular features, iii) concentric layering of cristae membranes, iv) matrix compartmentalization, v) nanotunelling, and vi) donut-shaped mitochondria. In light of recent molecular advances in mitochondrial biology, these findings reveal novel aspects of mitochondrial ultrastructure and morphology in human tissues with implications for understanding the mechanisms linking mitochondrial dysfunction to disease. PMID:27506553

  16. Transcription of mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Tabak, H F; Grivell, L A; Borst, P

    1983-01-01

    While mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the simplest DNA in nature, coding for rRNAs and tRNAs, results of DNA sequence, and transcript analysis have demonstrated that both the synthesis and processing of mitochondrial RNAs involve remarkably intricate events. At one extreme, genes in animal mtDNAs are tightly packed, both DNA strands are completely transcribed (symmetric transcription), and the appearance of specific mRNAs is entirely dependent on processing at sites signalled by the sequences of the tRNAs, which abut virtually every gene. At the other extreme, gene organization in yeast (Saccharomyces) is anything but compact, with long stretches of AT-rich DNA interspaced between coding sequences and no obvious logic to the order of genes. Transcription is asymmetric and several RNAs are initiated de novo. Nevertheless, extensive RNA processing occurs due largely to the presence of split genes. RNA splicing is complex, is controlled by both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and in some cases is accompanied by the formation of RNAs that behave as covalently closed circles. The present article reviews current knowledge of mitochondrial transcription and RNA processing in relation to possible mechanisms for the regulation of mitochondrial gene expression.

  17. Effects of structural complexity enhancement on eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) populations in northern hardwood forests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKenny, H.C.; Keeton, W.S.; Donovan, T.M.

    2006-01-01

    Managing for stand structural complexity in northern hardwood forests has been proposed as a method for promoting microhabitat characteristics important to eastern red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). We evaluated the effects of alternate, structure-based silvicultural systems on red-backed salamander populations at two research sites in northwestern Vermont. Treatments included two uneven-aged approaches (single-tree selection and group-selection) and one unconventional approach, termed "structural complexity enhancement" (SCE), that promotes development of late-successional structure, including elevated levels of coarse woody debris (CWD). Treatments were applied to 2 ha units and were replicated two to four times depending on treatment. We surveyed red-backed salamanders with a natural cover search method of transects nested within vegetation plots 1 year after logging. Abundance estimates corrected for detection probability were calculated from survey data with a binomial mixture model. Abundance estimates differed between study areas and were influenced by forest structural characteristics. Model selection was conducted using Akaike Information Criteria, corrected for over-dispersed data and small sample size (QAICc). We found no difference in abundance as a response to treatment as a whole, suggesting that all of the uneven-aged silvicultural systems evaluated can maintain salamander populations after harvest. However, abundance was tied to specific structural habitat attributes associated with study plots within treatments. The most parsimonious model of habitat covariates included site, relative density of overstory trees, and density of more-decayed and less-decayed downed CWD. Abundance responded positively to the density of downed, well-decayed CWD and negatively to the density of poorly decayed CWD and to overstory relative density. CWD volume was not a strong predictor of salamander abundance. We conclude that structural complexity enhancement

  18. Protective immunity of a Pichia pastoris expressed recombinant iridovirus major capsid protein in the Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yong; Fan, Yuding; LaPatra, Scott E; Ma, Jie; Xu, Jin; Meng, Yan; Jiang, Nan; Zeng, Lingbing

    2015-10-13

    The major capsid protein (MCP) is the main immunogenic protein of iridoviruses, that has been widely used as an immunogen in vaccination trials. In this study, the codon-optimized giant salamander iridovirus (GSIV) MCP gene (O-MCP) was synthesized and cloned into a pPICZα B vector for secretory expression in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris after methanol induction. The expression of the O-MCP protein was detected by the Bradford protein assay, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting and electron microscopy. The Bradford protein assay indicated that the concentration of the O-MCP expressed was about 40 μg/ml in culture supernatants. SDS-PAGE analysis revealed that the O-MCP had a molecular weight of about 66 kDa and reacted with a His-specific MAb that was confirmed by Western blotting. Electron microscopy observations revealed that the purified O-MCP could self-assemble into virus-like particles. Healthy giant salamanders were vaccinated by intramuscular injection with the O-MCP antigen at a dose of 20 μg/individual. The numbers of erythrocytes and leukocytes in the peripheral blood of immunized Chinese giant salamanders increased significantly at day 3 and reached a peak at day 5 post-immunization. Meanwhile, the differential leukocyte counts of monocytes and neutrophils increased significantly at day 5 post-immunization compared to that of the control group. The percentage of lymphocytes was 71.33 ± 3.57% at day 21 post-immunization. The neutralization assay showed that the serum neutralizing antibody titer reached 321 at day 21 post-immunization. The GSIV challenge test revealed that the relative percent survival of Chinese giant salamanders vaccinated with O-MCP was 78%. These results indicated that the O-MCP antigen expressed by the Pichia pastoris system elicited significant immune response in the Chinese giant salamander against GSIV and might represent a potential yeast-derived vaccine candidate that could be used for the control of disease caused by the

  19. Mitochondrial fusion and inheritance of the mitochondrial genome.

    PubMed

    Takano, Hiroyoshi; Onoue, Kenta; Kawano, Shigeyuki

    2010-03-01

    Although maternal or uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial genomes is a general rule, biparental inheritance is sometimes observed in protists and fungi,including yeasts. In yeast, recombination occurs between the mitochondrial genomes inherited from both parents.Mitochondrial fusion observed in yeast zygotes is thought to set up a space for DNA recombination. In the last decade,a universal mitochondrial fusion mechanism has been uncovered, using yeast as a model. On the other hand, an alternative mitochondrial fusion mechanism has been identified in the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum.A specific mitochondrial plasmid, mF, has been detected as the genetic material that causes mitochondrial fusion in P. polycephalum. Without mF, fusion of the mitochondria is not observed throughout the life cycle, suggesting that Physarum has no constitutive mitochondrial fusion mechanism.Conversely, mitochondria fuse in zygotes and during sporulation with mF. The complete mF sequence suggests that one gene, ORF640, encodes a fusogen for Physarum mitochondria. Although in general, mitochondria are inherited uniparentally, biparental inheritance occurs with specific sexual crossing in P. polycephalum.An analysis of the transmission of mitochondrial genomes has shown that recombinations between two parental mitochondrial genomes require mitochondrial fusion,mediated by mF. Physarum is a unique organism for studying mitochondrial fusion.

  20. Analysis of climatic factors influencing migrations of the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum

    SciTech Connect

    Semlitsch, R.D.

    1985-01-01

    Migrations of breeding adult and metamorphosing juvenile mole salamanders, Ambystoma talpoideum, were studied in five populations in South Carolina from September 1978 through July 1982. Onset of breeding immigrations occurred as early as September but migrations ''en masse'' did not occur until November, December, or January. Time of peak migration varied annually depending upon meteorological conditions. Total number of breeding adults or breeding population size, was significantly correlated with cumulative rainfall during the time of immigration. Sex ratio of immigrating adults was significantly biased towards males at the beginning of the breeding season whereas by the end of the season it was biased towards females. During the very dry year of 1980 - 1981 water levels in two relatively permanent breeding sites were substantially metamorphosis and emigration of sexually mature gilled morphs. Statistical models which predict the magnitude of migrations indicated that rainfall, water level, and minimum air temperature were consistently important environmental variables.

  1. Intracellular injection of vital dyes into single cells in the salamander olfactory epithelium.

    PubMed

    Schwartz Levey, M; Cinelli, A R; Kauer, J S

    1992-06-22

    Intracellular vital dye injection was used to examine the morphology of single sustentacular and receptor cells and the developmental fate of individual basal cells in the olfactory epithelium of the tiger salamander. In acute experiments, Lucifer yellow injections were used to identify single basal, receptor or sustentacular cells on the basis of their overall morphology. Dye-coupling between a number of the different epithelial cells was observed. Progeny of basal cells were examined by following labeled cells for up to 2 weeks using intracellular injection of rhodamine-labeled dextran. These experiments indicate that some olfactory epithelial cells are dye-coupled and that dye-filled basal cells can undergo division and migration.

  2. Phyllodistomum kanae sp. nov. (Trematoda: Gorgoderidae), a bladder fluke from the Ezo salamander Hynobius retardatus.

    PubMed

    Nakao, Minoru

    2015-10-01

    The Ezo salamander, Hynobius retardatus, is endemic only to Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Gravid flukes of the family Gorgoderidae were discovered from the urinary bladder of H. retardatus. The parasites were identified as a new species named Phyllodistomum kanae sp. nov. In the neighboring Honshu island another bladder fluke, Phyllodistomum patellare, has already been found from the Japanese newt. The new species clearly differs from P. patellare in having a spherical ovary and very weakly lobed testes. The discovery of species of Phyllodistomum from urodelan amphibians is very uncommon in Eurasia. A molecular phylogeny based on 28S ribosomal DNA suggests that sphaeriid bivalves may serve as the first intermediate host for the new species.

  3. Ontogenetic changes of trunk muscle structure in the Japanese black salamander (Hynobius nigrescens).

    PubMed

    Omura, Ayano; Anzai, Wataru; Koyabu, Daisuke; Endo, Hideki

    2015-08-01

    We investigated ontogenetic changes in the trunk muscles of the Japanese black salamander (Hynobius nigrescens) before, during and after metamorphosis. Given that amphibians change their locomotive patterns with metamorphosis, we hypothesized that they may also change the structure of their trunk muscles. The trunk muscles were macroscopically observed, and the weight ratios of each trunk muscle group were quantified at six different developmental stages. Immediately after hatching, we found that the lateral hypaxial muscle was composed of one thick M. ventralis, from ventral edge of which M. transversus abdominis arose later, followed by M. obliquus externus and M. rectus abdominis. The weight ratios of the dorsal and abdominal muscles to the trunk muscles increased with growth. We suggest that a single thick and large lateral hypaxial muscle facilitates swimming during early developmental stages. The increase in the weight ratios of the dorsal and abdominal muscles with growth possibly assists with gravity resistance necessary for terrestrial life.

  4. Population Structure and Evolution after Speciation of the Hokkaido Salamander (Hynobius retardatus)

    PubMed Central

    Matsunami, Masatoshi; Igawa, Takeshi; Michimae, Hirofumi; Miura, Toru; Nishimura, Kinya

    2016-01-01

    The Hokkaido salamander (Hynobius retardatus) is endemic to Hokkaido Island, Japan, and shows intriguing flexible phenotypic plasticity and regional morphological diversity. However, to date, allozymes and partial mitochondria DNA sequences have provided only an outline of its demographic histories and the pattern of its genetic diversification. To understand the finer details of the population structure of this species and its evolution since speciation, we genotyped five regional populations by using 12 recently developed microsatellite polymorphic markers. We found a clear population structure with low gene flow among the five populations, but a close genetic relationship between the Teshio and Kitami populations. Our demographic analysis suggested that Teshio and Erimo had the largest effective population sizes among the five populations. These findings regarding the population structure and demography of H. retardatus improve our understanding of the faunal phylogeography on Hokkaido Island and also provide fundamental genetic information that will be useful for future studies. PMID:27257807

  5. Population level differences in thermal sensitivity of energy assimilation in terrestrial salamanders.

    PubMed

    Clay, Timothy A; Gifford, Matthew E

    2017-02-01

    Thermal adaptation predicts that thermal sensitivity of physiological traits should be optimized to thermal conditions most frequently experienced. Furthermore, thermodynamic constraints predict that species with higher thermal optima should have higher performance maxima and narrower performance breadths. We tested these predictions by examining the thermal sensitivity of energy assimilation between populations within two species of terrestrial-lungless salamanders, Plethodon albagula and P. montanus. Within P. albagula, we examined populations that were latitudinally separated by >450km. Within P. montanus, we examined populations that were elevationally separated by >900m. Thermal sensitivity of energy assimilation varied substantially between populations of P. albagula separated latitudinally, but did not vary between populations of P. montanus separated elevationally. Specifically, in P. albagula, the lower latitude population had a higher thermal optimum, higher maximal performance, and narrower performance breadth compared to the higher latitude population. Furthermore, across all individuals as thermal optima increased, performance maxima also increased, providing support for the theory that "hotter is better".

  6. Rod and cone signals in the horizontal cells of the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed Central

    Hanani, M; Vallerga, S

    1980-01-01

    1. Intracellular recordings of horizontal cell responses to monochromatic lights of various wave-lengths and intensities were made in the retina of the larval tiger salamander in order to determine the contributions of rod and cone activities to horizontal cell responses. 2. Under conditions of extensive dark adaptation, and with dim light stimulation, the horizontal cell responses reflected mainly rod activity. In the light-adapted state or at high light intensities the cone contribution was dominant. 3. Bright adapting flashes selectively suppressed the rod component of horizontal cell responses. 4. Intracellular recordings from rods and cones showed that interactions between the two receptor types are very small and cannot account for the large rod--cone mixed input observed in horizontal cells. It is concluded that this input is mediated by direct connexions between receptors and horizontal cells. PMID:7359420

  7. Low pH effects on swimming activity of Ambystoma salamander larvae

    SciTech Connect

    Kutka, F.J. . Dept. of Animal Ecology)

    1994-11-01

    Swimming activity of larval Ambystoma laterale increased linearly with pH between pH 4.0 and 6.5; near inactivity occurred at pH 4.0. Ambystoma maculatum exhibited a weaker relationship between activity and pH, and overall was less active than A. laterale. However, survival of larval A. maculatum declined linearly with pH in the presence of adult diving beetles (Dytiscus verticalis), with significantly lower survival below pH 4.8. These results suggest that, as with embryos, salamander larvae may suffer from pH levels below 5.0, even though these levels are not directly lethal. Because of their sensitivity, ease, and short duration, activity tests are recommended with amphibian larvae for use in other risk assessments.

  8. Population genetic structure of critically endangered salamander (Hynobius amjiensis) in China: recommendations for conservation.

    PubMed

    Yang, J; Chen, C S; Chen, S H; Ding, P; Fan, Z Y; Lu, Y W; Yu, L P; Lin, H D

    2016-06-10

    Amji's salamander (Hynobius amjiensis) is a critically endangered species (IUCN Red List), which is endemic to mainland China. In the present study, five haplotypes were genotyped for the mtDNA cyt b gene in 45 specimens from three populations. Relatively low levels of haplotype diversity (h = 0.524) and nucleotide diversity (π = 0.00532) were detected. Analyses of the phylogenic structure of H. amjiensis showed no evidence of major geographic partitions or substantial barriers to historical gene flow throughout the species' range. Two major phylogenetic haplotype groups were revealed, and were estimated to have diverged about 1.262 million years ago. Mismatch distribution analysis, neutrality tests, and Bayesian skyline plots revealed no evidence of dramatic changes in the effective population size. According to the SAMOVA and STRUCTURE analyses, H. amjiensis should be regarded as two different management units.

  9. Spinal cord regeneration: where fish, frogs and salamanders lead the way, can we follow?

    PubMed

    Diaz Quiroz, Juan Felipe; Echeverri, Karen

    2013-05-01

    Major trauma to the mammalian spinal cord often results in irreversible loss of function, i.e. paralysis, and current therapies ranging from drugs, implantations of stem cells and/or biomaterials, and electrically stimulated nerve regrowth, have so far offered very limited success in improving quality-of-life. However, in marked contrast with this basic shortcoming of ours, certain vertebrate species, including fish and salamanders, display the amazing ability to faithfully regenerate various complex body structures after injury or ablation, restoring full functionality, even in the case of the spinal cord. Despite the inherently strong and obvious translational potential for improving treatment strategies for human patients, our in-depth molecular-level understanding of these decidedly more advanced repair systems remains in its infancy. In the present review, we will discuss the current state of this field, focusing on recent progress in such molecular analyses using various regenerative species, and how these so far relate to the mammalian situation.

  10. Treatment with corticosterone delays cutaneous wound healing in male and female salamanders.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Jessica R; Woodley, Sarah K

    2015-05-15

    In vertebrates, exposure to stressors and stress hormones has a number of physiological effects including modulation of immune function. These effects on immune function have been well studied in mammals, but less is known in other groups, in particular amphibians. To analyze the effects of exposure to stressors and the stress hormone corticosterone, we monitored cutaneous wound healing as a measure of integrated immunity in male and female semi-terrestrial salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) that were chased to induce endogenous release of corticosterone or were treated with physiologically relevant doses of corticosterone. As predicted, subjects treated daily with corticosterone healed more slowly than did controls. In contrast, subjects that had been chased daily healed at the same rate as controls. Surprisingly, repeated chasing did not elevate plasma corticosterone despite causing drops in body mass and survival. Additionally, females healed more slowly than males, possibly due to energetic constraints.

  11. Dopamine controls neurogenesis in the adult salamander midbrain in homeostasis and during regeneration of dopamine neurons.

    PubMed

    Berg, Daniel A; Kirkham, Matthew; Wang, Heng; Frisén, Jonas; Simon, András

    2011-04-08

    Appropriate termination of regenerative processes is critical for producing the correct number of cells in tissues. Here we provide evidence for an end-product inhibition of dopamine neuron regeneration that is mediated by dopamine. Ablation of midbrain dopamine neurons leads to complete regeneration in salamanders. Regeneration involves extensive neurogenesis and requires activation of quiescent ependymoglia cells, which express dopamine receptors. Pharmacological compensation for dopamine loss by L-dopa inhibits ependymoglia proliferation and regeneration in a dopamine receptor-signaling-dependent manner, specifically after ablation of dopamine neurons. Systemic administration of the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol alone causes ependymoglia proliferation and the appearance of excessive number of neurons. Our data show that stem cell quiescence is under dopamine control and provide a model for termination once normal homeostasis is restored. The findings establish a role for dopamine in the reversible suppression of neurogenesis in the midbrain and have implications for regenerative strategies in Parkinson's disease.

  12. A new species of salamander of the genus Hynobius from Central Honshu, Japan (Amphibia, Urodela).

    PubMed

    Matsui, Masafumi; Kokuryo, Yasuhiro; Misawa, Yasuchika; Nishikawa, Kanto

    2004-06-01

    We describe a small salamander from south Central Honshu, Japan, as a new species, Hynobius katoi. The genetic distances between this species and several named species, including sympatric H. kimurae, derived from allozyme data from a starch gel electrophoresis, proved to be sufficiently large to differentiate it at a specific rank. Distribution of this species is confined to the montane regions of Shizuoka and Nagano Prefectures, on the Akaishi Mountains of the Chubu District, central Japan. It is regarded as a member of the naevius group of Hynobius, characterized by small number of large, pigmentless ova. The species differs from the other species of the naevius group by the combination of relatively small body size, nearly spotless body, relatively few vomerine teeth forming moderately shallow series, and unique electrophoretic pattern of isozymes.

  13. Adult-onset mitochondrial myopathy.

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez-Sola, J.; Casademont, J.; Grau, J. M.; Graus, F.; Cardellach, F.; Pedrol, E.; Urbano-Marquez, A.

    1992-01-01

    Mitochondrial diseases are polymorphic entities which may affect many organs and systems. Skeletal muscle involvement is frequent in the context of systemic mitochondrial disease, but adult-onset pure mitochondrial myopathy appears to be rare. We report 3 patients with progressive skeletal mitochondrial myopathy starting in adult age. In all cases, the proximal myopathy was the only clinical feature. Mitochondrial pathology was confirmed by evidence of ragged-red fibres in muscle histochemistry, an abnormal mitochondrial morphology in electron microscopy and by exclusion of other underlying diseases. No deletions of mitochondrial DNA were found. We emphasize the need to look for a mitochondrial disorder in some non-specific myopathies starting in adult life. Images Figure 1 Figure 2 PMID:1589382

  14. Mitochondrial inheritance in fungi.

    PubMed

    Basse, Christoph W

    2010-12-01

    Faithful inheritance of mitochondria is essential for growth and development. Uniparental inheritance of mitochondria is a common phenomenon in sexual eukaryotes and has been reported for numerous fungal species. Uniparental inheritance is a genetically regulated process, aimed to gain a homoplasmic state within cells, and this is often associated with selective elimination of one parental mitochondria population. This review will focus on recent developments in our understanding of common and specified regulatory circuits of selective mitochondrial inheritance during sexual development. It further refers to the influence of mitochondrial fusion on generation of recombinant mitochondrial DNA molecules. The latter aspect appears rather exciting in the context of intron homing and could bring a new twist to the debate on the significance of uniparental inheritance. The emergence of genome-wide studies offers new perspectives to address potential relationships between uniparental inheritance, vegetative inheritance and last but not least cellular scavenging systems to dispose of disintegrated organelles.

  15. Physiological properties of rod photoreceptor electrical coupling in the tiger salamander retina.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jian; Wu, Samuel M

    2005-05-01

    Using dual whole-cell voltage and current clamp recording techniques, we investigated the gap junctional conductance and the coupling coefficient between neighbouring rods in live salamander retinal slices. The application of sinusoidal stimuli over a wide range of temporal frequencies allowed us to characterize the band-pass filtering properties of the rod network. We found that the electrical coupling of all neighbouring rods exhibited reciprocal and symmetrical conductivities. On average, the junctional conductance between paired rods was 500 pS and the coupling coefficient (the ratio of voltage responses of the follower cell to those of the driver cell), or K-value, was 0.07. Our experimental results also demonstrated that the rod network behaved like a band-pass filter with a peak frequency of about 2-5 Hz. However, the gap junctions between adjacent rods exhibited linearity and voltage independency within the physiological range of rods. These gap junctions did not contribute to the filtering mechanisms of the rod network. Combined with the computational modelling, our data suggest that the filtering of higher frequency rod signals by the network is largely mediated by the passive resistive and capacitive (RC) properties of rod plasma membranes. Furthermore, we found several attributes of rod electrical coupling resembling the physiological properties of gene-encoded Cx35/36 gap junctions examined in other in vitro studies. This indicates that the previously found Cx35/36 expression in the salamander rod network may be functionally involved in rod-rod electrical coupling.

  16. Calculating biologically accurate mitigation credits: insights from the California tiger salamander.

    PubMed

    Searcy, Christopher A; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2008-08-01

    Current conservation mitigation plans often fail to ensure full in-kind habitat replacement for endangered species, which suggests the need for improved methods for calculating mitigation credits. A simple, yet biologically meaningful method for calculating mitigation credits would be to let the number of mitigation credits assigned to a parcel of land scale with the reproductive value of the individuals occupying that parcel. This can be accomplished by dividing the population into 2 or more subdivisions with different reproductive values, calculating the densities of these subdivisions as a function of one or more habitat parameters, and then forming a weighted sum of these densities such that each density distribution is weighted by the reproductive value of its respective subdivision of the population. This weighted sum is the density distribution of reproductive value, and by integrating it over a particular parcel, one can determine the mitigation value of that parcel. We carried out this procedure for a population of California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), with distance from breeding site as our habitat parameter and the 3 visually identifiable age classes (adults, juveniles, and metamorphs) as our population subdivisions. This led to a density distribution of reproductive value that decreased exponentially with increasing distance from a breeding site. Mitigation strategies derived from this function will be more likely to ensure the persistence of California tiger salamander populations than current approaches, which assign all land within 1.6 km of a breeding site the same mitigation value. Use of the density distribution of reproductive value as a basis for mitigation plans is a procedure that can be applied to all endangered species, and it should improve the quality of mitigation decisions.

  17. Effects of modified chromophores on the spectral sensitivity of salamander, squirrel and macaque cones.

    PubMed

    Makino, C L; Kraft, T W; Mathies, R A; Lugtenburg, J; Miley, M E; van der Steen, R; Baylor, D A

    1990-05-01

    1. Chemically modified retinal chromophores were used to investigate the mechanisms that produce the characteristic spectral absorptions of cone pigments. Spectral sensitivities of single cones from the salamander, squirrel and macaque retina were determined by electrical recording. The chromophore was then replaced by bleaching the pigment and regenerating it with a retinal analogue. 2. Exposing a bleached cone to 9-cis-retinal for a brief period (less than 20 min) caused its flash sensitivity to recover to about 0.2 of the pre-bleach value. Similar exposure to a locked 6-s-cis, 9-cis analogue gave a recovery to about 0.03 of the pre-bleach value. 3. Unlike the flash sensitivity, the saturating photocurrent amplitude often recovered completely after bleaching and regenerating the pigment. 4. When the 3-dehydroretinal chromophore in the salamander long-wavelength-sensitive (red) cone was replaced with 11-cis-retinal, shortening the conjugated chain in the chromophore, the spectral sensitivity underwent a blue shift of 67 nm. 5. Pigments containing the planar-locked 6-s-cis.9-cis-retinal analogue absorbed at substantially longer wavelength than those containing unmodified 9-cis-retinal. The opsin shift, a measure of the protein's ability to modify the chromophore's absorption was larger for the locked analogue than for 9-cis-retinal. This suggests that the native chromophore assumes a twisted 6-s-cis conformation in these pigments. 6. The spectral sensitivities of red and green macaque cones containing 9-cis-retinal or planar-locked 6-s-cis.9-cis-retinal retained the 30 nm separation characteristic of the native pigments. This suggests that the different absorptions of of the 6-7 carbon bond in the retinal chromophore.

  18. Characterization and expression of cyp19a gene in the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus.

    PubMed

    Hu, Qiaomu; Xiao, Hanbing; Tian, HaiFeng; Meng, Yan

    2016-02-01

    We cloned the full length cyp19a of Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus, determined its distribution in tissues and developing gonads, and analyzed the CpG methylation pattern of the cyp19a promoter. The results revealed isoforms of 1706 bp (G arom) and 1698 bp (B arom) in length, differing in the 5' flanking region, both encoding 502 amino acids. The G arom gene was observed mainly in the ovary and kidney, with little in other investigated tissues, while B arom expression was high in the brain, ovary, testis, and pituitary, with low or undetected expression in other examined tissues. Total aromatase expression was high in the ovary; moderate in the kidney, brain, testis, and pituitary; and low in the remaining tissues. G arom expression was significantly higher in the ovary than in the testis and gradually decreased with maturation of the salamander. A single injection of methyltestosterone or letrozole resulted in ovarian G arom expression decreasing over a 12-96 h period. A 1366 bp sequence of the cyp19a promoter was cloned and shown to be conserved in selected species. CpG methylation level was negatively correlated with cyp19a expression in the examined tissues and developing ovaries. Five and three CpG methylation sites positively correlated with DNA methylation levels in tissues and developing ovary, suggesting that they play an important role in regulating cyp19a expression. The aromatase gene showed two isoforms with distinct expression patterns, and the promoter methylation level at specific CpG sites was associated with variation in expression profiles of tissues and developing ovaries.

  19. Using multilevel spatial models to understand salamander site occupancy patterns after wildfire

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chelgren, N.D.; Adams, M.J.; Bailey, L.L.; Bury, R.B.

    2011-01-01

    Studies of the distribution of elusive forest wildlife have suffered from the confounding of true presence with the uncertainty of detection. Occupancy modeling, which incorporates probabilities of species detection conditional on presence, is an emerging approach for reducing observation bias. However, the current likelihood modeling framework is restrictive for handling unexplained sources of variation in the response that may occur when there are dependence structures such as smaller sampling units that are nested within larger sampling units. We used multilevel Bayesian occupancy modeling to handle dependence structures and to partition sources of variation in occupancy of sites by terrestrial salamanders (family Plethodontidae) within and surrounding an earlier wildfire in western Oregon, USA. Comparison of model fit favored a spatial N-mixture model that accounted for variation in salamander abundance over models that were based on binary detection/non-detection data. Though catch per unit effort was higher in burned areas than unburned, there was strong support that this pattern was due to a higher probability of capture for individuals in burned plots. Within the burn, the odds of capturing an individual given it was present were 2.06 times the odds outside the burn, reflecting reduced complexity of ground cover in the burn. There was weak support that true occupancy was lower within the burned area. While the odds of occupancy in the burn were 0.49 times the odds outside the burn among the five species, the magnitude of variation attributed to the burn was small in comparison to variation attributed to other landscape variables and to unexplained, spatially autocorrelated random variation. While ordinary occupancy models may separate the biological pattern of interest from variation in detection probability when all sources of variation are known, the addition of random effects structures for unexplained sources of variation in occupancy and detection

  20. From biomedicine to natural history research: EST resources for ambystomatid salamanders

    PubMed Central

    Putta, Srikrishna; Smith, Jeramiah J; Walker, John A; Rondet, Mathieu; Weisrock, David W; Monaghan, James; Samuels, Amy K; Kump, Kevin; King, David C; Maness, Nicholas J; Habermann, Bianca; Tanaka, Elly; Bryant, Susan V; Gardiner, David M; Parichy, David M; Voss, S Randal

    2004-01-01

    Background Establishing genomic resources for closely related species will provide comparative insights that are crucial for understanding diversity and variability at multiple levels of biological organization. We developed ESTs for Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) and Eastern tiger salamander (A. tigrinum tigrinum), species with deep and diverse research histories. Results Approximately 40,000 quality cDNA sequences were isolated for these species from various tissues, including regenerating limb and tail. These sequences and an existing set of 16,030 cDNA sequences for A. mexicanum were processed to yield 35,413 and 20,599 high quality ESTs for A. mexicanum and A. t. tigrinum, respectively. Because the A. t. tigrinum ESTs were obtained primarily from a normalized library, an approximately equal number of contigs were obtained for each species, with 21,091 unique contigs identified overall. The 10,592 contigs that showed significant similarity to sequences from the human RefSeq database reflected a diverse array of molecular functions and biological processes, with many corresponding to genes expressed during spinal cord injury in rat and fin regeneration in zebrafish. To demonstrate the utility of these EST resources, we searched databases to identify probes for regeneration research, characterized intra- and interspecific nucleotide polymorphism, saturated a human – Ambystoma synteny group with marker loci, and extended PCR primer sets designed for A. mexicanum / A. t. tigrinum orthologues to a related tiger salamander species. Conclusions Our study highlights the value of developing resources in traditional model systems where the likelihood of information transfer to multiple, closely related taxa is high, thus simultaneously enabling both laboratory and natural history research. PMID:15310388