Amphibia-Reptilia 31 (2010): 425-434 Effect of habitat drying on the development of the Eastern spadefoot toad ( Pelobates syriacus ) tadpoles Paul Székely 1 ,* , Marian Tudor 2 , Dan Cog ˘ alniceanu 2 Abstract. Amphibians exhibit plasticity in the timing of metamorphosis, and tadpoles of many species respond to pond drying by accelerating their development. In the present study we investigated the phenotypic plasticity of the developmental response to water volume reduction in tadpoles of Eastern spadefoot toad Pelobates syriacus . The response of tadpoles to the simulated drying conditions was evaluated by gradually reducing the water level in the experimental containers under controlled laboratory conditions. Four water level treatments were used: constant high, slow decrease, fast decrease and constant low level. We tested if (i) tadpoles can speed up their development in a drying aquatic habitat, and (ii) if the accelerated development causes a reduced body size at metamorphosis. Our results showed that P. syriacus tadpoles were able to respond to pond drying by speeding up their metamorphosis and that metamorphosis was not influenced by water level, but by water level decrease rate. The accelerated development caused by the decreasing water level resulted in smaller
Amphibia-Reptilia – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Keywords: LARVAL PERIOD; TEMPORARY PONDS; METAMORPHOSIS; AMPHIBIANS; METAMORPHIC CLIMAX; PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY
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