Vernal pools are preferred breeding habitats for numerous amphibian species. The analysis of prey composition during the amphibian larval stages is necessary to understand diet composition and food choice in aquatic communities. We studied the diet of larvae of Pleurodeles waltl when exogenous feeding begins and throughout the flooding period in an episodic Mediterranean pond. The stomach contents were analyzed and the diet was compared to the availability of prey in the pond. The diet analysis revealed an ample diversity of prey, the most abundant being cyclopoid and calanoid copepods and podocopid ostracods. Changes in the composition of the diet corresponded principally to the variations in the availability of different prey as a consequence of the succession of the zooplankton community throughout the flooding period. However, certain taxa such as large anostracans, small anomopods, and turbellarias were not consumed although they were available and abundant. In contrast, prey scarcely represented in the pond such as coleopteran, dipteran, and hemipteran larvae were efficiently captured, suggesting their accessibility to newt larvae. The proportion of prey found in stomachs with respect to their abundance in the pond increased with larval size, coinciding with a reduction in number and bio-volume of available prey. The results suggest that newt larvae are opportunistic feeders and that breeding success of newts may be highly dependent on early egg-laying to match the abundant food supply found at early flooding stages of vernal pools.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 2012 • No. 4