Form, function, foam: evolutionary ecology of anuran nests and nesting behaviour

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Amphibians exhibit an incredible diversity of reproductive and life-history strategies, including various forms of nest construction and nesting behaviour. Although anuran amphibians (frogs and toads) are not known for their nests, nesting behaviour in this clade - broadly defined as a location chosen or constructed for eggs and young - is tightly linked to the amphibious lifestyle of this group. Transitions to increasingly terrestrial living have driven reproductive diversity in anurans, including the repeated, independent evolution of nests and nesting. Indeed, a core feature of many notable anuran adaptations - including nesting behaviour - is the maintenance of an aquatic environment for developing offspring. The tight link between increasingly terrestrial reproduction and morphological, physiological and behavioural diversity in anurans provides inroads for studying the evolutionary ecology of nests, their architects and their contents. This review provides an overview of nests and nesting behaviour in anurans, highlighting areas where additional work may be particularly fruitful. I take an intentionally broad view of what constitutes nesting to highlight what we can learn from thinking and researching comparatively across anurans and vertebrates more broadly. This article is part of the theme issue 'The evolutionary ecology of nests: a cross-taxon approach'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20220141
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1884
StatePublished - Aug 28 2023


  • amphibian
  • frog
  • nest
  • nesting
  • parental care
  • reproductive mode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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