The trophic niche of a species is one of the fundamental traits of species biology. The ideal trophic niche of a species is realized in the absence of interspecific competition, targeting the most profitable and easy-to-handle food resources. However, when a competitor is present, species adopt different strategies to reduce competition and promote coexistence. In this study, we assessed the potential mechanisms that allow the coexistence of two generalist salamanders: the Italian cave salamander (Speleomantes italicus) and the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra). We surveyed, in April 2021, a forested area of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) during rainy nights. Analyzing the stomach contents of the captured individuals, we obtained information on the trophic niche of these two sympatric populations. Comparing our results with those of previous studies, we found that the two species did not modify their trophic niche, but that alternative mechanisms allowed their coexistence. Specifically, different prey preferences and predator metabolisms were likely the major factors allowing reduced competition between these two generalist predators.

The Trophic Niche of Two Sympatric Species of Salamanders (Plethodontidae and Salamandridae) from Italy

Lunghi E.
;
2022

Abstract

The trophic niche of a species is one of the fundamental traits of species biology. The ideal trophic niche of a species is realized in the absence of interspecific competition, targeting the most profitable and easy-to-handle food resources. However, when a competitor is present, species adopt different strategies to reduce competition and promote coexistence. In this study, we assessed the potential mechanisms that allow the coexistence of two generalist salamanders: the Italian cave salamander (Speleomantes italicus) and the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra). We surveyed, in April 2021, a forested area of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) during rainy nights. Analyzing the stomach contents of the captured individuals, we obtained information on the trophic niche of these two sympatric populations. Comparing our results with those of previous studies, we found that the two species did not modify their trophic niche, but that alternative mechanisms allowed their coexistence. Specifically, different prey preferences and predator metabolisms were likely the major factors allowing reduced competition between these two generalist predators.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/193218
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