Natural aquatic sites are disappearing worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean region where amphibians are frequently forced to move for reproduction to artificial sites designed for irrigation and cattle watering (i.e., wells, tanks and drinking troughs). In artificial aquatic sites, where resources (space and food) are usually limited, trophic niche information can be particularly useful to infer the suitability of habitats for amphibian conservation especially when more than one species co-occurs. In this paper, we focused on three newt species: The Italian newt (Lissotriton italicus), the Italian smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis) and the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex) inhabiting man-made wells widespread in an area in Central Italy characterized by few available natural aquatic sites. Specifically, we analyzed the trophic spectrum of the species, their interactions and overlap, and discussed the potential role of wells in amphibian conservation. Overall, 550 newt individuals occurring in 16 distinct wells were sampled. The study species consumed similar resources, mainly of aquatic origin, with Diptera larvae and Cladocera representing the most important preys. The high degree of diet overlap observed may be due to site oligotrophy and high availability of small-sized prey, and it does not necessarily lead to competition. Newts had similar narrow niche width values and a generalist feeding pattern with high diversity among individuals. Lissotriton italicus and T. carnifex showed wider niche width in isolation than in syntopy condition, probably as a result of interspecific competition and/or intraguild predation. We showed that artificial aquatic sites are important for newt ecology and conservation since they allow up to three species to cohabit, thus representing a good surrogate of natural habitats. The study wells apparently provided suitable trophic conditions for newts in terms of prey availability and catchability. To date, just a few studies have contributed to a greater understanding of newts’ diet in artificial aquatic sites and this gap of knowledge has to be filled to clarify their role in amphibian ecology and conservation.

Stellati, L., Mirabasso, J., Luiselli, L., Bologna, M.A., Vignoli, L., Bissattini, A.M. (2021). Can we share? Feeding strategy in three syntopic newts in artificial habitats. DIVERSITY, 13(1), 1-16 [10.3390/d13010032].

Can we share? Feeding strategy in three syntopic newts in artificial habitats

Stellati L.;Luiselli L.;Bologna M. A.;Vignoli L.;Bissattini A. M.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Natural aquatic sites are disappearing worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean region where amphibians are frequently forced to move for reproduction to artificial sites designed for irrigation and cattle watering (i.e., wells, tanks and drinking troughs). In artificial aquatic sites, where resources (space and food) are usually limited, trophic niche information can be particularly useful to infer the suitability of habitats for amphibian conservation especially when more than one species co-occurs. In this paper, we focused on three newt species: The Italian newt (Lissotriton italicus), the Italian smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis) and the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex) inhabiting man-made wells widespread in an area in Central Italy characterized by few available natural aquatic sites. Specifically, we analyzed the trophic spectrum of the species, their interactions and overlap, and discussed the potential role of wells in amphibian conservation. Overall, 550 newt individuals occurring in 16 distinct wells were sampled. The study species consumed similar resources, mainly of aquatic origin, with Diptera larvae and Cladocera representing the most important preys. The high degree of diet overlap observed may be due to site oligotrophy and high availability of small-sized prey, and it does not necessarily lead to competition. Newts had similar narrow niche width values and a generalist feeding pattern with high diversity among individuals. Lissotriton italicus and T. carnifex showed wider niche width in isolation than in syntopy condition, probably as a result of interspecific competition and/or intraguild predation. We showed that artificial aquatic sites are important for newt ecology and conservation since they allow up to three species to cohabit, thus representing a good surrogate of natural habitats. The study wells apparently provided suitable trophic conditions for newts in terms of prey availability and catchability. To date, just a few studies have contributed to a greater understanding of newts’ diet in artificial aquatic sites and this gap of knowledge has to be filled to clarify their role in amphibian ecology and conservation.
2021
Stellati, L., Mirabasso, J., Luiselli, L., Bologna, M.A., Vignoli, L., Bissattini, A.M. (2021). Can we share? Feeding strategy in three syntopic newts in artificial habitats. DIVERSITY, 13(1), 1-16 [10.3390/d13010032].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/396100
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