Reproductive mode plasticity: Aquatic and terrestrial oviposition in a treefrog

Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 06/2008; 105(21):7495-9. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0711579105
Source: PubMed


Diversification of reproductive mode is a major theme in animal evolution. Vertebrate reproduction began in water, and terrestrial eggs evolved multiple times in fishes and amphibians and in the amniote ancestor. Because oxygen uptake from water conflicts with water retention in air, egg adaptations to one environment typically preclude development in the other. Few animals have variable reproductive modes, and no vertebrates are known to lay eggs both in water and on land. We report phenotypic plasticity of reproduction with aquatic and terrestrial egg deposition by a frog. The treefrog Dendropsophus ebraccatus, known to lay eggs terrestrially, also lays eggs in water, both at the surface and fully submerged, and chooses its reproductive mode based on the shade above a pond. Under unshaded conditions, in a disturbed habitat and in experimental mesocosms, these frogs lay most of their egg masses aquatically. The same pairs also can lay eggs terrestrially, on vegetation over water, even during a single night. Eggs can survive in both aquatic and terrestrial environments, and variable mortality risks in each may make oviposition plasticity adaptive. Phylogenetically, D. ebraccatus branches from the basal node in a clade of terrestrially breeding species, nested within a larger lineage of aquatic-breeding frogs. Reproductive plasticity in D. ebraccatus may represent a retained ancestral state intermediate in the evolution of terrestrial reproduction.

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    • "Since males defend territories associated with tree holes, it is possible that tadpoles found in ponds were laid by females that mated with males that adopted an alternative mate-locating tactic. On the other hand, hylids females could also show plasticity in oviposition (Touchon & Warkentin, 2008), and temporary pounds could be the opportunity to nest in an alternative place when the preferred clutching site is limited. If one or both situations are true, tadpoles in ponds may lack the ability to change the behavior according to their swimming capacity because they are an example of a population that evolved in a habitat with low predation pressure. "
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    ABSTRACT: In order to maximize escaping success, prey may change their predator avoidance behaviors according to their susceptibility. Morphological development during ontogeny may lead to different susceptibility to predators. Consequently, prey may exhibit different predator avoidance strategies according to the ontogenetic state. In this study, we used tadpoles of the Amazon milk frog Trachycephalus resinifictrix (Anura, Hylidae) to evaluate how variation in the ability to actively escape owed to the mobility acquired through ontogeny affects the adoption of predator avoidance strategies. We sampled tadpoles (N = 384) in temporary ponds and divided them in four consecutive developmental stages according to body size and mobility capacity. Subsequently , we measured their movement and spatial distribution when subjected to chemical cues of predators or control solutions. We found that they spent less time moving and increased spatial aggre-gation after receiving solutions with predator cues, independent of their developmental stage. These results indicate that the variation in escape capacity through larval ontogeny does not determine their antipredator strategy. Since tadpoles of T. resinifictrix typically grow in environments with reduced space for active escaping, such as tree holes and bromeliads, it may be that the ability to flee from predators is absent, even when this behavior increases the survival chances.
    Hydrobiologia 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10750-015-2433-8 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    • "The kairomone elicits the plastic response, but it does not in itself influence selection on inducible defenses, which depends on predation risk. And the treefrog Dendropsophus ebraccatus uses the shade above a pond as an indicator of the level of humidity , to influence a plastic reproductive strategy whereby eggs are laid aquatically or terrestrially (Touchon and Warkentin 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Phenotypically plastic characters may respond to multiple variables in their environment, but the evolutionary consequences of this phenomenon have rarely been addressed theoretically. We model the evolution of linear reaction norms in response to several correlated environmental variables, in a population undergoing stationary environmental fluctuations. At evolutionary equilibrium, the linear combination of environmental variables that acts as a developmental cue for the plastic trait is the multivariate best linear predictor of changes in the optimum. However, the reaction norm with respect to any single environmental variable may exhibit non-intuitive patterns. Apparently maladaptive and hyper-adaptive plasticity can evolve with respect to single environmental variables, and costs of plasticity may increase, rather than reduce, plasticity in response to some variables. We also find conditions for the evolution of an indirect environmental indicator that affects expression of a plastic phenotype, despite not influencing natural selection on it. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Evolution 08/2015; 69(10). DOI:10.1111/evo.12755 · 4.61 Impact Factor
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    • "Detailed field research of frog behaviour may even change current thoughts on the evolutionary biology of anurans. For instance, recent evidence has revealed a cryptic mechanism of mate choice (Bruning et al. 2010), an ultrasonic communication system (Feng et al. 2006; Arch et al. 2008), seismic communication in arboreal and aquatic species (Caldwell et al. 2010; Forti and Encarnação 2012), and plasticity in reproductive modes and embryo development (Touchon and Warkentin 2008; Warkentin 2011). Also, diurnal species have been recorded during elaborate courtships involving auditory, visual or tactile signals (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examine factors that influence male mating success in the glass frog Centrolene savagei; in addition, we describe courtship behaviour, oviposition and early parental behaviour. Fieldwork was conducted in the Colombian Andes during the rainy season from April 2006 to January 2011. Larger males had more chances of mating than smaller males; neither the height of calling site nor number of nights calling influenced the male mating success. Apparently, females choose males on the basis of call frequency attributes. Ours is the first study in glass frogs to report mating success skewed toward larger males. Courtship behaviour includes acoustic signals and visual displays. Additionally, we recorded an unusual routine interruption of amplexus by the male, and a synchronized behaviour between the female and male that indicates the beginning of male parental behaviour.
    Journal of Natural History 06/2014; 48(27-28):1689-1705. DOI:10.1080/00222933.2013.840942 · 0.88 Impact Factor
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