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Mating strategy and breeding patterns of the foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii)Author(s): Clara A. Wheeler; Hartwell H. Welsh Jr.
Source: Herpetological Conservation and Biology 3(2):128-142
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionThe Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) has declined across much of its native range in California. Improper stream management may lower egg mass survival and reduce the availability of suitable breeding habitats. We collected data during six breeding-seasons (2002-2007) along an unregulated stream in northwestern California. We monitored temporal reproductive patterns at a breeding site and used mark-recapture and behavioral observations to spatially and temporally track individuals and investigate aspects of the mating strategy. The duration of breeding activity lasted three to seven and a half weeks. Day within the breeding-season and stream flow influenced breeding activity. Male frogs congregated at the breeding site during the reproductive season but females arrived asynchronously. Male frogs showed fidelity to individual sites within the breeding area. The daily operational sex ratio of adults was malebiased, while the overall breeding-season operational sex ratio was female-biased. Males in amplexus were larger than males never observed in amplexus, providing evidence of a non-random mating pattern. These frogs showed plasticity in temporal breeding patterns and were not exclusively prolonged or explosive breeders. Frog behaviors at the breeding site were more typical of prolonged breeding anurans. Both timing and duration of breeding were closely linked to the natural hydrologic cycle, indicating that anthropogenic variations of stream flows may suppress the reproductive behavior and annual output of these frogs.
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CitationWheeler, Clara A.; Welsh Jr., Hartwell H. 2008. Mating strategy and breeding patterns of the foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 3(2):128-142
KeywordsFoothill Yellow-legged Frog, mating strategy, northwestern California, Rana boylii, reproductive ecology, temporal breeding patterns
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