Amphibian breeding-migrations are strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Furthermore, an individual’s breeding-migration pattern might be influenced by their sex, size, physiological state, and/or fecundity. From 2012 to 2014, we collected mark–recapture data for two syntopic alpine (Ichthyosaura alpestris) and smooth (Lissotriton vulgaris) newt populations in southern Greece (the southern limit of their distribution), as well as morphometric data for individuals, and data on environmental factors. Using these data, we studied the reproductive dynamics of these populations and assessed whether individual traits and environmental covariates influence their breeding-migration patterns. Both species followed a similar temporal migration pattern, regardless of individual traits. Migration to the breeding site was influenced by water availability, but not by ground temperature, rainfall or photoperiod. Migration from the breeding site was not influenced by water availability, but was triggered by increasing water temperatures. Our findings corroborate the few available studies of European newt populations occurring near the southern edge of their distribution. However, compared to numerous studies of northern European newt populations, our results suggest distinct breeding-migration patterns, as well as contrasting effects of environmental factors on these migration patterns. Based on current climate change projections, the breeding period of southern newt populations breeding in temporary ponds could be severely reduced.
Hydrobiologia – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 13, 2018
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