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      Does carnivory pay off? Experiments on the effects of different types of diet on growth and development of Bufo bufo (Linnaeus, 1758) tadpoles and carry-over effects after metamorphosis

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      Herpetozoa

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Natural diets of anuran larvae vary widely in their relative amounts of nutrients. The proportion of these ingested nutrients has significant influence on larval and post-metamorphic performance. Here, we use the Common Toad to address the role of diet (exclusively carnivore, exclusively vegetarian and mixed) on growth and development of tadpoles and short-term carry-over effects on post-metamorphic animals. Larvae fed on an exclusively vegetarian diet performed better (faster growth and development) than larvae fed on exclusively carnivore and mixed diets. Larvae fed on the exclusively carnivore diet had the lowest performance. Regarding the carry-over effects of larval diets, although the body condition indices of the toadlets were similar in all treatments, there was a major difference in the survival rate. While toadlets, originating from larvae fed on a vegetarian diet, were more successful and had the lowest mortality, those fed on a carnivore diet had the highest mortality level. Our results suggest that a plant-based diet may contain all the necessary nutrients needed by Bufo bufo larvae. Furthermore, a diet based exclusively on food of animal origin might be detrimental for the larval performance and could have significant carry-over effects on the post-metamorphic animal.

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          Most cited references 42

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          The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians

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            Ecological Aspects of Amphibian Metamorphosis: Nonnormal distributions of competitive ability reflect selection for facultative metamorphosis.

            A synthetic theory of the ecology of amphibian metamorphosis is founded on the observation that the large variation in length of larval period and body size at metamorphosis typical of a particular species of amphibian cannot be directly explained by differences in dates of hatching or egg sizes. It is proposed that as development proceeds, variation in exponential growth coefficients causes a trend from a normal distribution to a skewed distribution of body sizes. The degree of skewing increases and the median of the distribution decreases with increasing initial densities of populations. The relative advantages of the largest members of a cohort may arise from a variety of mechanisms including the production of growth inhibitors, interference competition, and size-selective feeding behavior. These mechanisms result in a nonnormal distribution of competitive ability, a possible source of the density-dependent competition coefficient found in systems with many species (1). In our model the ranges of body sizes and dates of metamorphosis are determined by a minimum body size that must be obtained and a maximum body size that will not be exceeded at metamorphosis. Between these two size thresholds the endocrinological initiation of metamorphosis is expected to be related to the recent growth history of the individual larva. Species that exploit uncertain environments will have a wide range of possible sizes at metamorphosis. Species exploiting relatively certain environments will have a narrower range. The evolution of neoteny and direct development logically follow from the application of these ideas to the ecological context of the evolution of amphibian life histories. Species that live in constant aquatic habitats surrounded by hostile environments (desert ponds, caves, high-altitude lakes) may evolve permanent larvae genetically incapable of metamorphosis. Other populations may evolve a facultative metamorphosis such that populations are a mixture of neotenes and terrestrial adults. Direct development results from selection to escape the competition, predation, and environmental uncertainty characteristic of some aquatic habitats and is usually accompanied by parental care. The relation between our ecological model and the physiological mechanisms that initiate metamorphosis can only be suggested and it remains an open problem for developmental biologists.
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              Factors Affecting Population Fluctuations in Larval and Adult Stages of the Wood Frog (Rana Sylvatica)

               Keith Berven (1990)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Herpetozoa
                Herpetozoa
                Pensoft Publishers
                1013-4425
                May 13 2019
                May 13 2019
                : 32
                : 21-31
                Article
                10.3897/herpetozoa.32.e35627
                © 2019

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