Predation is a key determinant of pond community structure, yet not all predators are equally effective and not all life stages of potential prey are similarly susceptible. Understanding the effects of native and introduced species is essential to informing management strategies, especially for endemic and species of conservation concern. We examined the effects of five common predators (three native: Central Newts [Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis], aeshnid dragonfly naiads [Aeshnidae], and Southern Leopard Frog tadpoles [Lithobates sphenocephalus]; and two introduced: Fathead Minnows [Pimephales promelas] and Mosquitofish [Gambusia affinis]) on survival of eggs and recently hatched larvae of Ringed Salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum). We also examined the effect of supplemental food or cover availability on survival at each stage. Predators primarily showed a binary response to eggs, consuming all or none of them. Supplemental food did not influence whether eggs or larvae were consumed. Larvae were consumed by all predator species although the effect varied. The presence of cover did not reduce the impacts of the other predators on larval survival. Overall, the two introduced fish species had a greater impact on survival of the early stages of Ringed Salamanders than did the native predators. Further inquiries into the susceptibility of different life stages and survival will improve conservation strategies for rare and endemic species such as Ringed Salamanders.
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Vol. 70 • No. 4