Frog breeding pond selection in response to predators and conspecific cues

Valerie L. Buxton, Michael P. Ward, Jinelle H. Sperry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Predators are a major influence on the breeding site selection decisions of anurans. Many species actively avoid breeding in habitat with predators when given the choice between predator and predator-free sites. However, certain factors such as site fidelity or conflicting cues may preclude avoidance behavior. We conducted two experiments examining how western chorus frogs, Pseudacris triseriata, respond to predators, western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, using an array of artificial ponds located at two field sites. In one experiment, we added G. affinis to half of our experimental ponds and monitored subsequent colonization by frogs. We found that frogs laid significantly fewer eggs in ponds with fish compared to fishless ponds. In another experiment, we introduced an additional cue to complicate the decision-making process and monitored colonization of ponds in response to treatments of conspecific breeding cues only (eggs), predators (G. affinis) only, and conspecific cues and predators. We found no significant differences in number of eggs deposited among these three treatments. Based on these results, P. triseriata does not always exhibit complete avoidance of fish predators, and avoidance may vary based on factors such as site fidelity or dispersal costs. This study represents a step toward understanding how multiple biotic factors at a breeding pond may influence anuran site selection behavior in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalEthology
Volume123
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

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Keywords

  • anuran
  • breeding pond selection
  • conspecific cues
  • predator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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