Day length is one of the most important factors that organisms use to predict seasonal changes in their environment. Several amphibians regulate their growth and development in response to photoperiod. However, many studies have not focused on the ecological effects of the photoperiodic response on growth and development because they use tropical animals, animals from a commercial source or from unknown localities, or extreme light regimens for experiments. In the present study, we examined the effects of photoperiod on growth and development in the clouded salamander (Hynobius nebulosus) by raising larvae under different photoperiods and at different temperatures in the laboratory. The average larval period under a long-day photoperiod of L16:D8 was longer than that under L12:D12 at 15°C or 20°C, although the difference between the photoperiods was only significant for 15°C. Juveniles weighed more at metamorphosis under L16:D8 than those under L12:D12, irrespective of temperature, suggesting that a longer developmental period results in a heavier body weight. The head width of juveniles did not differ for different photoperiods at either temperature. However, the growth rate of the head width under L12:D12 was faster than that under L16:D8 at 15°C. Long day length appears to produce larger H. nebulosus juveniles in a relatively stable aquatic environment with a low population density. Thus, development may be accelerated when the day length becomes shorter as winter approaches, and larvae may have increased the growth rate of their head widths to compensate for the shorter growing period under shorter day lengths.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3