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Tuesday, February 7 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Technical Session. The Influence of Conspecific Cues and Predator Presence on Anuran Breeding Habitat Selection Decisions

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AUTHORS: Valerie L. Buxton, University of Illinois; Michael P. Ward, Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois; Jinelle H. Sperry, Engineer Research and Development Center and University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Conspecific cues and predator presence may influence breeding habitat decisions made in certain species. In anurans, conspecific cues may attract individuals to breeding ponds while predators may deter them from ponds. From 2014-2016, we have conducted experimental studies in Indiana, Illinois, and Arizona on several anuran species to determine whether individuals are attracted to artificial breeding ponds containing playbacks of conspecifics. We found that Cope’s gray treefrogs and Mexican spadefoots exhibit a strong response to playbacks, while Wood frogs, American toads, and Arizonza treefrogs exhibit weak or no response. In addition, in 2016 we examined how predator presence affects breeding pond selection in Western chorus frogs in two separate experiments. In one experiment, we added mosquitofish predators to half of our experimental ponds and monitored pond colonization. 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 (i.e. egg masses), predators only, and conspecific cues and predators. In the former predator experiment, we found that frogs laid significantly fewer eggs in ponds with fish compared to fishless ponds, while in the latter experiment we found no significant differences in number of eggs deposited among the three treatments. Collectively, our results suggest that anurans use different biotic cues in selecting breeding sites but cue use may potentially vary by species and location.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST
Arbor I/II