The maintenance of gene flow and colonization of new areas are influenced by an organism's movements in the landscape. Movement favors genetic mixing and limits inbreeding risk, hence decreasing the risk of extinction. Movement is a multifactorial process, however, and might be influenced by both individual traits and environmental factors. Studying the influence of individual characteristics and landscape features on movement is becoming an important challenge in evolutionary ecology and conservation biology, especially among threatened species such as amphibians. In a low-disperser species (Triturus marmoratus), we expected differences in movement ability to vary with individual traits, such as body length, as well as features of the landscape. On the basis of radiotracking surveys in both forests and agricultural lands, we revealed that landscape features and climatic conditions influenced the distances traveled by newts. Moreover, the individual traits, and particularly the body length and the hind-limb length, were also important factors explaining movement patterns in Marbled Newts. Highlighting such movement-related traits in a salamander species could improve estimates of movement potential based on morphological traits. Our results can assist in recommendations for conservation plans of the Marbled Newts, and more generally of amphibians.
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Vol. 73 • No. 1