Journal of Tropical Ecology

Temporal partitioning of reproductive activity in a neotropical anuran community

Brigitte Gottsberger a1c1 and Edith Gruber a2
a1 Institute of Zoology II, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Staudtstr. 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
a2 Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Article author query
gottsberger b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gruber e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The phenology of calling activity and reproduction of a neotropical anuran community in French Guiana was studied during one rainy season. We investigated the correlation between calling activity, rainfall, temperature and water level in two ponds and recorded the occurrence of tadpoles of pond-breeding species. The study site contained 31 calling frog species, which were divided into groups according to reproductive mode. Increased rainfall was associated with increased reproductive activity in all groups, but temporal patterns in calling activity varied significantly between groups. Species with aquatic oviposition exhibited sporadic acoustic activity, aggregating into explosive breeding events following heavy rainfall. Species laying eggs in foam nests had the peak of calling activity at the start of the rainy season. Taxa with embryonic development on vegetation called mainly from middle to late wet season, being the only group which showed a significant correlation of calling with increasing water level. Dendrobatids with terrestrial oviposition and subsequent parental tadpole transportation were continuously active. Species with direct development or with non-feeding larvae were mainly active at the beginning of the rainy season. It is concluded that phenologies of calling activity in South American tropical anuran species are strongly influenced by abiotic factors like rainfall and availability of breeding sites. The temporal limitation of the rainy season forces species to adjust calling and reproductive activity according to their reproductive modes.

(Accepted April 11 2003)

Key Words: Amphibia; calling activity; French Guiana; frog; neotropics; reproductive phenology; tadpole; tropical lowland forest.

c1 Corresponding author. Email: