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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 407–413 | Cite as

Larval deposition behaviour and maternal investment of females reflect differential habitat adaptation in a genetically diverging salamander population

  • Barbara A. Caspers
  • Sebastian Steinfartz
  • E. Tobias Krause
Original Paper

Abstract

Illuminating the ability of individuals to react to different selective forces caused by environmental differences is crucial to understand population divergence and speciation in the context of habitat adaptation. In a common environment experiment performed under standardised laboratory conditions, we examined whether female fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) originating from a recently adaptively diverged population displayed behavioural phenotype differences related to larval deposition behaviour. Females of this species typically deposit their larvae in small first-order streams; however, in our study population, females also use temporary ponds. These two habitat types display major ecological differences that strongly influence larval growth and survival. We observed that females differed in larval deposition behaviour and maternal investment. Pond-type females extended larval deposition over an increased time period and tended to exhibit more deposition events compared with stream-type females. Over successive deposition events, the body condition of larvae deposited by stream-type females decreased faster than that of larvae deposited by pond-type females. These differences in larval deposition behaviour may represent a bet-hedging strategy, given that ponds are more constrained in terms of desiccation and food availability than streams. The lengthened deposition period enabled pond-type females to deposit larger larvae towards the end of the deposition period, compared with stream-type females. Although the studied population only diverged recently, we observed significant behavioural differences between differentially adapted females, demonstrating the importance of behavioural differences in habitat adaptation in the context of speciation processes.

Keywords

Habitat adaptation Behavioural differences Larval deposition Natural selection Fire salamander Speciation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Timm Reinhardt, Ralf Hendrix, Terry Morley and Annika Keller for field assistance and Fritz Trillmich for providing logistical support. We are very grateful to two anonymous referees and the editor for constructive comments. We thank Tobias Roth for statistical advice. This research was supported by a research grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) to BAC (CA 889/1) and partially supported by the Wilhelm-Peters Fund of the DGHT to ETK, BAC and SS.

Ethical standards

With the permission of the ‘Untere Landschaftsbehörde’ in Bonn, we collected potentially pregnant female fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) in the Kottenforst near Bonn, Germany (N 50°41.321′; E 007°07.012′) and brought them to the Department of Animal Behaviour at Bielefeld University, Germany. Experiments comply with the current laws of Germany. After the experiment, the females and larvae were released at the site of capture and the nearest water body, respectively.

Supplementary material

265_2014_1853_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara A. Caspers
    • 1
  • Sebastian Steinfartz
    • 2
  • E. Tobias Krause
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Animal BehaviourBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Zoological Institute, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Unit Molecular EcologyTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  3. 3.Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Animal SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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