Lead-phase and red-stripe color morphs of red-backed salamanders Plethodon cinereus differ in hematological stress indices:A consequence of differential predation pressure?
<正> Throughout the animal kingdom there are species that have two or more phenotypic forms or 'morphs', and many ofthese are amphibians. In North America, the red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus can have either a red dorsal stripe or nodorsal stripe (lead-phase form), and evidence to date indicates the lead-phase form incurs a greater number of attacks from predators.In a recent collection of 51 P. cinereus, blood smears of both color morphs (35 red-stripe, 16 lead-phase) were examined toobtain numbers of circulating leukocytes (via light microscopy), which can be used to indirectly estimate levels of stress hormonesin vertebrates via a 'hematological stress index', which is the ratio between the number of two leukocyte types (neutrophilsand lymphocytes). Our results showed that lead-phase salamanders tended to have greater numbers of circulating neutrophils andlower numbers of circulating lymphocytes than red-stripe morphs, leading to higher average neutrophil-lymphocyte ratios inlead-phase individuals. Since the salamanders were held (refrigerated) for 7 days before sampling, we cannot be certain if this effectis a stress reaction to the captivity or the normal level for this morph. However comparison with two sets of related salamandersthat were captured and sampled immediately indicates the red-stripe salamanders were either not stressed from the captivityat all, or their white blood cell distributions had returned to normal after 7 days of captivity. Taken together, our results indicatethat lead-phase forms of P. cinereus have higher stress levels than the red-stripe forms, which may be a consequence of theirhigher exposure to, and/or attacks from, predators. They may also indicate that the lead-phase form is less-suited to captivity thanthe red-stripe form of this species