We predicted that the probability of egg occurrence of salamander Salamandrina perspicillata depended on stream features and predation by native crayfish Austropotamobius fulcisianus and the introduced trout Salmo trutta. We assessed the presence of S. perspicillata at 54 sites within a natural reserve of southern Tuscany, Italy. Generalized linear models with binomial errors were constructed using egg presence/absence and altitude, stream mean size and slope, electrical conductivity, water pH and temperature, and a predation factor, defined according to the presence/absence of crayfish and trout. Some competing models also included an autocovariate term, which estimated how much the response variable at any one sampling point reflected response values at surrounding points. The resulting models were compared using Akaike's information criterion. Model selection led to a subset of 14 models with ΔAICc < 7 (i.e., models ranging from substantial support to considerably less support), and all but one of these included an effect of predation. Models with the autocovariate term had considerably more support than those without the term. According to multimodel inference, the presence of trout and crayfish reduced the probability of egg occurrence from a mean level of 0.90 (SE limits: 0.98–0.55) to 0.12 (SE limits: 0.34–0.04). The presence of crayfish alone had no detectable effects (SE limits: 0.86–0.39). The results suggest that introduced trout have a detrimental effect on the reproductive output of S. perspicillata and confirm the fundamental importance of distinguishing the roles of endogenous and exogenous forces that act on population distribution.
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Vol. 45 • No. 3