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Oviposition site selection in anurans (Lissamphibia)

Oviposition site selection is a kind of habitat selection in which the females choose egg-laying sites that maximize their reproductive success. In the present review, we compiled the main conclusions of major studies on this theme that used frogs as model organisms. In the literature, three main lines of investigations were recognized: 1) multiple factor analyses in natural habitats- within the breeding site, places with eggs/tadpoles are compared with unused sites, testing several abiotic and biotic factors that could potentially influence female's choice; 2) experiments with pools arranged in replicated blocks (treatments/control) to simulate oviposition sites differing in quality and 3) quantification of reproductive events associated with experimental manipulations in the field. Effectively, females of several frog species select oviposition sites more favorable to survival and development of eggs and tadpoles. In general, the female choice depends on the abundance and quality of potential egg-laying sites and on her discriminatory ability. Female choices usually mirror the main risks to survival and growth of the offspring, but discriminatory power is not absolute and partial or total losses of clutches and tadpoles may occur, most of them resulting from desiccation and predation. The sensory mechanisms that females use to discriminate the conditions of potential oviposition sites remain poorly known and unexplored. Besides affecting the parental reproductive success, the selective behavior potentially influence population dynamics and community structure by promoting habitat segregation among competitive species or prey-species and their predators.

habitat selection; egg-laying microhabitat; reproductive success; indirect effects; methodological approaches


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