Intraspecific trait variation in generalist animals is widespread in nature, yet its eects on community ecology are not well understood. Newts are considered opportunistic feeders that may co-occur in dierent syntopic conditions and represent an excellent model for studying the role of individual feeding specialization in shaping the population dietary strategy. Here, we investigated the diet of three newt species from central Italy occurring in artificial habitats in dierent coexistence conditions to test the predictions of the niche width (NW) variation hypotheses. Population NW did not vary among species and between presence and absence of coexisting species. An overall positive relationship between individual specialization and population NW was observed. However, this pattern was disrupted by the condition of syntopy with newt populations showing an individual NW variation invariant with population NW in presence of coexisting species, whereas it was larger in populations occurring alone. The observed pattern of newt behavior was not consistent with any of the proposed scenarios. We found a consistent pattern with the degree of individual specialization being (1) size-dependent (specialized individuals increasing within larger sized species) and (2) assemblage-complexity-depende
Mirabasso, J., Bissattini, A.M., Bologna, M.A., Luiselli, L.M., Stellati, L., Vignoli, L. (2020). Feeding Strategies of Co-occurring Newt Species across Dierent Conditions of Syntopy: A Test of the “Within-Population Niche Variation” Hypothesis. DIVERSITY, 12 [10.3390/d12050181].