Two populations of Salamandra salamandra (L.) larvae from Galilee were studied: a cannibalistic population from Hammama Spring, and a non-cannibalistic population from Tel Dan. The cannibalistic larvae grew faster than the non-cannibalistic ones. The habitat at Tel Dan contained an ample supply of food (invertebrates) for the larvae. A shortage of food in the Hammama Spring population, while not affecting the rate of growth, caused an increase in cannibalism. Five large cannibalistic larvae consumed 116 small larvae during the three months required to complete metamorphosis. There was no incidence of cannibalism among large larvae of roughly equal size. The phenomenon of cannibalism as an aspect of adaptation to different habitats is discussed.
Differences between three isolated populations of Salamandra salamandra were examined in this study. It is based on 369 adult specimens which were measured for length and weight. The yellow markings and the quantitative relationship between the black and the yellow areas were compared. Plasma proteins were determined by electrophoresis on polyacrylamide gel. Salamanders from a moist habitat (Tel Dan) are much smaller than salamanders from semi-arid habitats (Mt. Meron and Mt. Carmel). The colour pattern typical of the Lebanese S. s. infraimmaculata was found in all the Israeli populations, whereas colour patterns typical of the European S. s. salamandra were not found in them. The plasma proteins of the Israeli salamanders are very similar to those of the Lebanon (Gasser, 1975) and differ greatly from those of the European S. s. salamandra. These results indicate that the Israeli salamander populations should be arranged taxonomically with S. s. infraimmaculata.
Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) from semi-arid and moist habitat maintained their body weight constant on 40% and 50% field capacity respectively. The water turnover of salamanders from moist habitats (50 % field capacity) was 93 μl.g-1.day-1 and the water turnover of salamanders from semi-arid habitats (40% field capacity) was 47 μl.g-1.day-1 and 49 μl.g-1.day-1. The blood plasma concentration of salamanders from semi-arid habitats was higher than the blood plasma concentration of salamanders from moist habitats when they were found, in water balance, on soil with a low moisture content.
Ovoviviparous births of larvae of Salamandra salamandra (L) were compared from a number of disjunct habitats in northern Israel, at the south-eastern limit of the Palearctic distribution of the species. The numbers, period and rate at which larvae were born varied between different habitats. In one winter pond, 90±11 larvae per brood were born at a rate of 5 per hour during December-January; in another pond, broods of 114±13 were born at 4 per hour during November-January; in a third, 112±15 were born at a rate of 4 per hour during November-December. In a perennial spring habitat, 68±2 larvae per brood were born at a rate one per hour during February-March, while in a stream habitat, brood size was 55±10 larvae, born at two per hour over the whole year. There were no significant differences in size between larvae from different habitats. Adjustments in birth parameters of larvae born in winter ponds indicate adaptation to an unpredictable habitat.
Adults of Ihe subspecies Salamandra salamandra infraimmaculata were collected in Tel Dan, Mt. Meron (central Galilee), and Mt. Carmel, the southern limits of its distribution. Their lengths and weights were measured. Molecular DNA variation between and within the populations was studied by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA. Nineteen primers were examined, and seven were found suitable for the (RAPD) PCR reaction. Salamanders from semiarid habitats were significantly larger than those from a humid habitat. One to three bands that were found in salamanders from the semiarid habitats were absent from those from the humid habitat. Genetic variation was found between the two habitat types, but not between the two populations from the semiarid habitats. Band sharing between salamanders from semiarid habitats was 94%, whereas that between habitat types was significantly lower (85–86%).