The Effects of Hydroperiod on the Head Morphology of Long-Toed Salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum)
Phenotypic plasticity has been observed in many organisms from mammals to plants. In particular amphibians are susceptible to plasticity before metamorphosis. Hydroperiod (the amount oftime water is present in a pond) is a significant factor in amphibian development. It has been indicated to cause phenotypic plasticity in the head morphology of salamanders. Cannibalistic and typical head morphologies have been recorded in the long-toed salamander Ambystoma macrodactylum. Larval salamanders in both short and long hydroperiod ponds were observed using macro-photography. Geometric morphometries was then used to analyze head shapes. The two sites were sampled throughout the summer of 2003 to view if there was a morphological difference between larval salamanders in long and short hydroperiod ponds. The larval salamanders exhibited typical and non-typical morphologies depending on hydroperiod.