Feeding Ecology of Larval Ambystoma Mabeei
Ambystoma mabeei is listed as threatened in Virginia due to its rarity and susceptibility to urbanization and poor forestry practices. The purposes of this study were to determine the composition of the diet of larval A. mabeei and to compare larval diet in different geographic regions to gain insights into the ecology of Virginia populations. Ninety-eight percent (N = 75) of all A. mabeei larvae dissected contained food items. Virginia samples harbored higher loads of gastric parasites (Nematodes) than individuals from other locations. Furthermore, prey species found in the stomachs of Virginia specimens were different than those of conspecifics from more southern locations. Higher loads of gastric parasites in Virginia animals may be related to their diet, which in turn is related to the forest cover over natural ponds. Habitat disturbance and parasite prevalence may have major implications both for larval survival and for the long-term persistence of A. mabeei populations in this portion of their range.
McCoy, Michael W., and Alan H. Savitzky. 2004. Feeding ecology of larval Ambystoma mabeei. Southeastern Naturalist, 3(3):409-416.