Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists prove ground and tree salamanders have same diets

08.09.2014

Why did the salamander climb the tree? Not to get a different meal, according to a new study

Salamanders spend the vast majority of their lives below ground and surface only for short periods of time and usually only on wet nights. When they do emerge, salamanders can be spotted not only on forest floors but also up in trees and on other vegetation, oftentimes climbing as high as 8 feet up. Given their infrequent appearances aboveground, it has never been clear to biologists why salamanders take time to climb vegetation. Researchers at the University of Missouri recently conducted a study testing a long-standing hypothesis that salamanders might climb vegetation for food.

“Previous research suggested that plant climbing might be a way for salamanders to access additional prey items, like aphids and leaf hoppers, that are not available on the ground,” said Grant Connette, a biologist who helped carry out the study while a graduate student in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU.

Connette and his colleagues tested the hypothesis by collecting red-legged salamanders (Plethodon sharmani) and examining their stomach contents. The researchers captured an equal number of salamanders on the ground and up on trees or shrubs and then brought them back to the lab, where they anesthetized them and flushed the stomachs of their contents. The salamanders – minus their last meals – were then safely returned to their exact capture location.

The stomach contents were preserved in alcohol and then subsequently dissected apart. Students, assisted by MU Curators’ Professor James Carrel and Research Entomologist Mark Deyrup with the Archbold Biological Station in Florida, identified each prey item to the lowest taxonomic level and calculated its mass. At the end, they had a laundry list of things found in the guts of these salamanders.

“The dominant groups were mites, millipedes, beetles, and an assortment of ants,” said Carrel. “What was surprising was that the [salamanders] collected on trees did not have anything one would associate with a plant-feeding insect, like aphids.”

The diet of the salamanders captured on the ground was the same as the diet of salamanders captured sitting high up on vegetation.

“We found no evidence that climbing allows these salamanders to more fully exploit available food resources, which instead suggests that other mechanisms, such as competition or predator avoidance, might be important influences on salamander populations,” said Connette.

The study was prompted by the research of Curators’ Professor Ray Semlitsch, who has been studying salamander populations in the Appalachian Mountains since 2005. The mountain range’s moist forests make it a global hot spot for a variety of salamander species.

Connette said that by testing a possible explanation for climbing behavior, the research also provides important background information about how salamanders can exist in high densities in North American forests.

The study, “Relationship between diet and microhabitat use of red-legged salamanders (Plethodon shermani) in southwestern North Carolina,” appeared in the journal Copeia.

Written by: Melody Kroll

Melody Kroll | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://biology.missouri.edu/news/why-did-the-salamander-climb-the-tree-not-to-get-a-different-meal-according-to-a-new-study/

Further reports about: climbing forests mechanisms populations resources salamanders species stomach

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>