Adaptive significance of intraspecific diversity: paedomorphosis and cannibalism in polyphenic amphibians


Studying the fitness of alternative phenotypes consists at determining how adaptive are variants in populations and thus how these phenotypes can persist, disappear or form new species in ecosystems. Heterochronic polyphenisms (facultative paedomorphosis - cannibalism) are particularly interesting models to explore these questions because large morphological and physiological changes can be produced without deep genetic modifications. Facultative paedomorphosis occurs when larval traits (e.g. gills) are maintained in a part of the adult population, which is composed of paedomorphs and metamorphs. Cannibalistic polyphenism implies an alternative development associated with the ingestion of big organisms (overdevelopped head, long teeth).To better understand the evolution of these processes, we look at both proximate and ultimate factors and analyse age structures, growth patterns, spatial and feeding habits, predatory performances, environmental effects, metamorphosis rate, biogeography, and sexual behaviour. We also integrate these results into a conservation framework in order to understand declines and to point out the importance of protecting such cases of intraspecific diversity.


paedomorphosis, heterochrony, polymorphism, polyphenism, sexual selection, mating tactics, life history traits, behavioural ecology, resource use, drying effect, food effect, Biogeography, Demography and life-history, Ecology, Ethology, Habitat management, restoration, Limnology and hydrobiology, Ponds and lakes, standing waters, Origins, Maintenance and Change of Biodiversity, Monitoring of Biodiversity, Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, Inland Water Biodiversity, Invasive Species and their Effect on Biodiversity, phenotypic plasticity, feeding performance, biogeography, conservation, pond, habitat fragmentation, disease, behavioral ecology, resource use, France, Italy, Greece, United States of America, USA, Alps, Larzac, Liège, Metazoa, Vertebrata, Amphibia, Caudata, Mesotriton alpestris, Lissotriton helveticus, Salamandridae, Ambystomatidae, Ambystoma tigrinum, Salamandra salamandra, triton alpestre, Alpine newt


Population and Ecological Genetics {Research discipline}
Freshwater Ecology {Research discipline}
Landscape Ecology {Research discipline}
Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology) {Research discipline}
Sociobiology and Behavioural Ecology {Research discipline}
Conservation and Biodiversity {Research discipline}
Biogeography {Research discipline}
Global Change Biology {Research discipline}
Veterinary Sciences {Research discipline}
Environmental Management and Rehabilitation {Research discipline}
Wildlife and Habitat Management {Research discipline}
Environmental Impact Assessment {Research discipline}
Conservation {Research discipline}
Land and Parks Management {Research discipline}
Species {Integration level}
National {Cooperation status}
European (EU) {Cooperation status}
International (non-EU) {Cooperation status}
Origins, Maintenance and Change of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Monitoring of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable use of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Northern Europe {Geographical scope}
Southwestern Europe {Geographical scope}
Southeastern Europe {Geographical scope}
South-Central U.S.A. {Geographical scope}
Northern South America {Geographical scope}
Agricultural {Habitat type}
Dry and Sub-humid Lands {Habitat type}
Inland Waters {Habitat type}
Mountain {Habitat type}
General Measures for Conservation and Sustainable Use {Research purpose}
Technical and Scientific Cooperation {Research purpose}
Identification and Monitoring {Research purpose}
In-situ Conservation {Research purpose}
Research and Training {Research purpose}
Impact Assessment and Minimizing Adverse Impacts {Research purpose}
Amphibia {Taxonomical scope}


Name Role Amount
FRFC unknown
FRIA unknown


Name Role Start End
Denoël, Mathieu promotor 1996-10-01


Name Role Start End
Laboratoire d'éthologie des poissons et amphibiens unknown


Reference Role
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Denoël M., Poncin P. & Ruwet J.C. 2001. Sexual compatibility between two heterochronic morphs in Triturus alpestris (Caudata, Salamandridae). Animal Behaviour, 62: 559-566. author
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Denoël M., Duguet R., Dzukic G., Kalezic M. & Mazzotti S. 2001. Biogeography and ecology of paedomorphosis in Triturus alpestris (Amphibia, Caudata). Journal of Biogeography, 28: 1271-1280. author
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Denoël M. & Andreone F. 2003. Trophic habits and aquatic microhabitat use in gilled immature, paedomorphic and metamorphic Alpine newts (Triturus alpestris apuanus) in a pond in central Italy. Belgian Journal of Zoology 133: 95-102. author
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Jacob J.P., Percsy C., De Wavrin H., Graitson E., Kinet T., Denoël M., Paquay M. & Percsy N. 2007. Amphibiens et reptiles de Wallonie. Série Faune-Flore Habitat 2. Aves et Région Wallonne, Namur : 386 pages. author

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:biodiv

© 2012 by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform