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9 September 2021 Phenotypic Plasticity of Salamander Hatchlings in the Pre-Feeding Stage in Response to Future Prey
Noboru Katayama, Kakeru Okamura, Keina Tanimura
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Vulnerability of animals immediately after hatching may induce plasticity in early ontology that becomes important for subsequent survival and growth. Ezo salamanders (Hynobius retardatus) are amphibians inhabiting ponds in Hokkaido, Japan where ezo brown frogs (Rana pirica) spawn on occasion. The salamander larvae must achieve sufficient size in order to successfully capture frog tadpoles, and we examined whether the presence of tadpoles causes development of greater body and/or gape size in newly hatched salamander larvae, which will in turn result in advantageous future prey-predator interactions. To examine this hypothesis, we conducted three laboratory experiments to demonstrate the phenotypic plasticity of salamander hatchlings in response to the presence or absence of frog tadpoles and to screen the type of signals involved in the expression of the phenotypic plasticity. First, salamander hatchlings were reared alone or with tadpoles, and the growth and morphological traits of the hatchlings were compared. The results showed that hatchling larvae grew faster with a more developed gape in the presence of tadpoles. Next, to identify the type of signals inducing this plasticity, two separate experiments with manipulated chemical and visual signals from tadpoles were conducted. The findings showed that faster growth and a more developed gape were induced by chemical but not visual signals. This plasticity may be an adaptive strategy because it increases the likelihood of preying on tadpoles in future prey-predator interactions.

© 2021 Zoological Society of Japan
Noboru Katayama, Kakeru Okamura, and Keina Tanimura "Phenotypic Plasticity of Salamander Hatchlings in the Pre-Feeding Stage in Response to Future Prey," Zoological Science 38(5), 397-404, (9 September 2021).
Received: 18 January 2021; Accepted: 16 July 2021; Published: 9 September 2021

broad gape morph
growth acceleration
induced signals
phenotypic plasticity
prey-predator interactions
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