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Evolution of Salamandrid Feeding

Salamanders across the family Salamandridae can either be fully terrestrial, semi-aquatic, or fully aquatic as adults. The environment in which these animals are found governs the feeding behavior utilized - suction feeding when in water and often using tongue projection or protrusion when on land. In my research on the functional morphology of feeding in salamandrids I have identified performance trade-offs in species needing to perform both of these behaviors; however, little is known about how morphology, kinematics, and overall performance has evolved within the family.

My research focuses on better understanding how feeding behaviors have evolved in salamandrids, as well as attempts to identify correlations between the evolution of performance and morphology. In these experiments I utilize the morphological, kinematic, and performance data gathered both through my own research, as well as from the literature, in combination with phylogenetic comparative methods to assess the evolution of these traits.

Header image: cleared and stained specimen of the fully aquatic newt Paramesotriton labiatus.

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