Article

Phenology of the reproduction of Pelodytes punctatus Daudin, 1802 (Amphibia, Anura)

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Abstract

Pelodytes punctatus est une espèce dont les biotopes de reproduction sont localisés en plaine principalement (90% des cas). De nouvelles données sur la phénologie de la reproduction ainsi que sur le type de milieu ont été collectées durant 6 ans sur 4 régions comprenant plus de 35 sites. La période de ponte principale survient au printemps mais on peut en observer une deuxième en automne dans le sud de la France. Les œufs sont fixés en cordons par les femelles sur les tiges de plantes aquatiques. Le succès de l'éclosion dépend de l'oxygénation de l'eau. La croissance larvaire est relativement rapide en conditions contrôlées (19°C ± 1°C) et les têtards se métamorphosent 40 à 60 jours après l'éclosion. Dans le sud, deux catégories de têtards sont observées en automne, les plus petits hivernent et se métamorphosent durant le printemps suivant.

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... In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). In France and Italy, P. punctatus inhabits plains (Guyétant et al. 1999;Salvidio et al. 2004;Pottier 2008), is absent from most of the French Pyrenees (Boulenger, 1897;Guyétant & Geniez 2013) and only exceeds elevations of 1,000 m in the Massif Central and in the Alpes Maritimes (Salvidio & Bologna 2007). The fossil record suggests an ancient presence of P. punctatus at the east of its present distribution (Blain & Bailón 2003;Delfino 2004). ...
... This encompasses general accounts on the biology of the species (e.g., Elzen 1975Elzen , 1976, diet analysis of adults from Catalonia (Bea et al. 1994), and diet preferences of tadpoles (Richter- Boix et al. 2007). Reproduction is related to an increase in seasonal rainfall and occurs early in the year, usually before that of other anuran species, with two breeding periods: one at mid-fall and another in late winter and spring (Sindaco & Andreone 1988;Toxopeus et al. 1993;Guyétant et al. 1999;Boix et al. 2004;Egea-Serrano et al. 2005;Richter-Boix et al. 2006;Petitot et al. 2014). Reproduction in autumn is often minor and irregular (Cayuela et al. 2012), however, in southern populations the breeding season extends all year round (A. ...
... Overall clutch size can be up to 1,600 eggs (Boulenger, 1897;Lanza 1983;Toxopeus et al. 1993). Hatching success might be related to water oxygen content (Guyétant et al. 1999). The incubation period is 8-9 days at 14-20ºC (Nöllert & Nöllert 1992). ...
... Pelodytes punctatus es muy flexible en el uso de los hábitats acuáticos (Fig. 3). Habitualmente utiliza charcas temporales para la reproducción (Gosá y Bergerandi, 1994; Guyétant et al., 1999; Boix et al., 2001; Grillas et al., 2004; Salvidio et al., 2004; Tatin, 2010), aunque puede también ocupar balsas permanentes, incluyendo estructuras artificiales (Soler et al., 2008; ...
... En la Península Ibérica se extiende principalmente en zonas bajas y de media montaña, pero puede alcanzar los 1900 m en la Rioja (Zaldívar, 2004), los 1800 m en Aragón, 1630 m en la Serranía de Cuenca (Barberá et al., 1998), alcanzando su limite altitudinal en el Pirineo (2000 m; Borrás y Polls, 1987; Guixé et al., 2009), donde sin embargo está presente de forma discontinua (Martínez-Rica, 1983; Barbadillo, 2002). En Francia también es una especie propia de ambientes de llanura (Guyétant et al., 1999), aunque alcanza los 1000 m en el Massif Central y los 1550 m en los Alpes Marítimos. Está ausente de la mayor parte de los Pirineos franceses (Boulenger, 1897; Guyétant y Geniez, 2013), donde no supera los 600 m de altitud (Pottier, 2008). ...
... En la mayor parte de su área de distribución P. punctatus muestra dos períodos de reproducción, asociados con incrementos estacionales en las precipitaciones, uno a mediados del otoño (de octubre a noviembre) y en otro a finales de invierno y primavera (de enero a mayo; Sindaco y Andreone, 1988; Guyétant et al., 1999; Boix et al., 2004; Egea-Serrano et al., 2005; Richter-Boix et al., 2006). En el extremo norte de Francia se reproduce entre finales de marzo e inicios de mayo (Toxopeus et al., 1993; Petitot et al., 2014). ...
... In the Iberian Peninsula, it is restricted to the northeast, including eastern Catalonia (Martínez-Rica 1983;Barbadillo 2002b), where it reaches its maximum altitude in the Pyrenees (2,000 m; Borrás & Polls 1987;Guix et al. 2009). In France and Italy, P. punctatus inhabits plains (Guyétant et al. 1999;Salvidio et al. 2004;Pottier 2008), is absent from most of the French Pyrenees (Boulenger, 1897;Guyétant & Geniez 2013) and only exceeds elevations of 1,000 m in the Massif Central and in the Alpes Maritimes (Salvidio & Bologna 2007). The fossil record suggests an ancient presence of P. punctatus at the east of its present distribution (Blain & Bailón 2003;Delfino 2004). ...
... This encompasses general accounts on the biology of the species (e.g., Elzen 1975Elzen , 1976, diet analysis of adults from Catalonia (Bea et al. 1994), and diet preferences of tadpoles (Richter- Boix et al. 2007). Reproduction is related to an increase in seasonal rainfall and occurs early in the year, usually before that of other anuran species, with two breeding periods: one at mid-fall and another in late winter and spring (Sindaco & Andreone 1988;Toxopeus et al. 1993;Guyétant et al. 1999;Boix et al. 2004;Egea-Serrano et al. 2005;Richter-Boix et al. 2006;Petitot et al. 2014). Reproduction in autumn is often minor and irregular (Cayuela et al. 2012), however, in southern populations the breeding season extends all year round (A. ...
... Overall clutch size can be up to 1,600 eggs (Boulenger, 1897;Lanza 1983;Toxopeus et al. 1993). Hatching success might be related to water oxygen content (Guyétant et al. 1999). The incubation period is 8-9 days at 14-20ºC (Nöllert & Nöllert 1992). ...
Article
Parsley frogs (Pelodytes) comprise the only genus in the family Pelodytidae, an ancient anuran lineage that split from their closest relatives over 140 million years ago. Pelodytes is a Palearctic group restricted to Western Eurasia including three extant species: the eastern species P. caucasicus, endemic to the Caucasus area, and two closely related species inhabiting Western Europe: the Iberian endemic P. ibericus and the more widespread P. punctatus. Previous studies based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers have revealed the existence of two additional lineages of Parsley frogs in the Iberian Peninsula, which have been flagged as candidate species. Here, we integrate novel molecular, morphological and bioacoustical data to assess the differentiation of the four western Parsley frog lineages. Species trees and Bayesian population assignment analyses based on nuclear markers confirm previous studies and concordantly delineate four parapatric lineages with narrow hybrid zones. Mitochondrial divergence is low (< 2% pairwise distances in the 16S rRNA gene), in line with previously reported low mitochondrial substitution rates in non-neobatrachian frogs. Based on concordance between mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we conclude that four species of Parsley frogs occur in Western Europe: Pelodytes punctatus, distributed from northern Italy to northeastern Spain; Pelodytes ibericus, inhabiting southern Spain and southern Portugal; Pelodytes atlanticus sp. nov., from the Portuguese Atlantic coast; and Pelodytes hespericus sp. nov., occurring in central and eastern Spain. However, bioacoustical and morphological differentiation of these species is low, with no obvious and qualitative diagnostic characters allowing full species discrimination. Differences in the relative size of metacarpal tubercles exist but this character is variable. Pelodytes ibericus and Pelodytes atlanticus are smaller than the other two species, and P. ibericus has shorter limbs and various distinctive osteological characters. Bioacoustically, the pattern by which two different note types are combined in advertisement calls separates P. hespericus from the remaining species. Despite these differences, we emphasize that the taxonomic status of all four western Parsley frogs requires additional investigation, especially the patterns of genetic admixture across contact zones. While a status of separate species best conforms to the currently available data, alternative hypotheses are also discussed.
... The parsley frog, Pelodytes punctatus, is an appropriate model to test these hypotheses as it shows an extreme, bimodal variation in breeding date in Mediterranean regions. While most species of these regions are spring breeders, parsley frog equally uses spring and autumn temporal niches (in any pond) to breed (Guyetant et al. 1999;Jakob et al. 2003;Richter-Boix et al. 2006a). Autumn and spring tadpole cohorts are exposed to very different conditions, as tadpoles emerging from eggs laid in autumn (autumn tadpoles hereafter) have to overwinter as larvae to metamorphose the next spring while tadpoles from spring clutches (spring tadpoles) metamorphose directly before the summer. ...
... Autumn and spring tadpole cohorts are exposed to very different conditions, as tadpoles emerging from eggs laid in autumn (autumn tadpoles hereafter) have to overwinter as larvae to metamorphose the next spring while tadpoles from spring clutches (spring tadpoles) metamorphose directly before the summer. This results in a large variation in life histories of larvae, with autumn tadpoles having a much longer larval period and a larger size at metamorphosis than spring tadpoles in the field (Guyetant et al. 1999;Richter-Boix et al. 2006a and personal observation). Hence, we can already exclude our first hypothesis: parsley frogs do not maintain a fixed generalist phenotype for larval traits in both environments. ...
Article
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Environmental changes, such as climate change, lead to the opening of new niches. In such situations, species that adapt to new niches can survive and/or expand their ranges. However, gene flow can hamper genetic adaptation to new environments. Alternatively, recent models have highlighted the importance of phenotypic plasticity in tracking environmental change. Here, we investigate whether phenotypic plasticity or genetic evolution (or both) allows an amphibian species to exploit two divergent climatic niches. In the Mediterranean region, the parsley frog Pelodytes punctatus breeds both in spring, as do most other species, and in autumn, a temporal niche not exploited by most other species, but which may become increasingly important with global warming. Conditions of development are dramatically different between the two seasons and deeply impact tadpole life-history traits. To determine whether these temporal niches are exploited by two genetically differentiated subpopulations, or whether the bimodal phenology arises in a panmictic population displaying plastic life-history traits, we use two complementary approaches. We measure both molecular genetic differentiation and quantitative-trait differentiation between spring and autumn cohorts, using microsatellites and common garden experiments, respectively. Seasonal cohorts were not genetically differentiated and differences in tadpole life history between cohorts were not maintained in laboratory conditions. We conclude that phenotypic plasticity, rather than genetic adaptation, allows Parsley frog to exploit two contrasting temporal niches.
... At the end of summer and into early autumn, the environment reverts back to spring-like conditions with mild temperatures and another peak of precipitation . Consequently, many species display bimodal breeding seasonality (Guyétant et al., 1999; García-París, 2004). For unimodal species, the timing of the seasonal peak was calculated over the entire year, whereas for bimodal species it was calculated separately for the first six months and the last six months of the year, as in previous studies on other bimodal organisms (Edwards and Richardson, 2004). ...
... This fixed strategy is suitable for species that use permanent or predictable habitats for breeding, as is the case of B. bufo and R. perezi (Morand and Joly, 1995; Duguet and Melki, 2003; GarcíaParís, 2004). For species that use temporary ponds, and therefore unpredictable habitats between years in the Mediterranean region, a plastic reproductive strategy allows populations to adjust their breeding period to rainfall episodes (Salvador and Carrascal, 1990; Guyétant et al., 1999; Jakob et al., 2003; Joly, 2003). Several researchers have reported on the influence of rainfall and temperature on anuran breeding (e.g. ...
Article
We studied the temporal breeding patterns and strategies of anuran assemblages in the Mediterranean region over five consecutive years. We collected monthly data on the number of clutches, tadpoles and juveniles presence of six species in 98 ponds. The data showed a great temporal segregation of species. Species using permanent ponds have a breeding peak that is related to temperature whereas reproductive success in temporary pond breeders is determined by rainfall pulses. Many species showed great plasticity of reproduction with two peaks: one in spring and the other in autumn. In spite of this temporal segregation, a large overlap was observed among species during the larval phase period. Three species (Alytes obstetricans, Pelodytes punctatus and Rana perezi) have over-wintering tadpoles. We discuss temporal segregation, differences between species in their breeding strategies and variable conditions between years as factors that favour the temporal coexistence of species in the Mediterranean region.
... The Parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) is a small toad belonging to the family Pelodytidae. It inhabits ponds in Western Europe (Guyetant et al. 1999). A peculiar characteristic of parsley frogs is the existence of two reproductive peaks (in spring and autumn) in Mediterranean environments (Richter-Boix et al. 2006). ...
Article
We characterized eight microsatellite loci to study spatial and temporal population structure of Pelodytes punctatus, a European anuran that has a peculiar breeding pattern among amphibians. The eight loci proved to be highly polymorphic with the number of alleles per locus ranging from two to 15 within two populations. Cross-amplification indicates that those markers may be also useful for closely related species from the same family.
... We collected four clutches (hereafter described as families) of P. punctatus from different areas within each pool to avoid collection of clutches laid by the same female. We assume that each clutch was fertilized by one male and this is probably very likely since this species is a non-explosive breeder with only few males and females present at a mating rendezvous at each night (Nöllert and Nöllert 1992; Guyétant et al. 1999). Clutches were collected during the first week of March 2006 the day after they were deposited in the field. ...
Article
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It has been suggested that phenotypic plasticity can facilitate evolutionary diversification of organisms. If life-history and morphological diversification across a lineage is mirrored in diversification in the same traits due to phenotypic plasticity within a lineage it fulfils one of the expectations that are needed to support this diversification hypothesis. We carried out a laboratory study to examine development rate and morphology between and within populations of the parsley frog, Pelodytes punctatus. We found that frogs reared in the laboratory had a longer development time, relatively longer hind legs and relatively narrower heads under constant water level compared to those under decreasing water level simulating pool drying. This adaptive phenotypic plasticity response to pool drying was mirrored across populations because frogs from permanent waters had longer development times, relatively longer hind legs and relatively narrower heads compared to frogs from temporary waters. Hence the developmental and morphological plasticity observed within populations was also observed between populations as constitutive expressed traits. We suggest that the morphology pattern observed was driven by a common developmental process (time to metamorphosis), indicating that plasticity may contribute to evolutionary change, ultimately resulting in genetic accommodation of the morphological traits.
... It is assumed that a species recognised as representing a monotypic genus has more importance from a conservation point of view. All environmental variables were submitted to a multifactorial analysis to classify different amphibian species depending on their similarities in relation to their risk of extinction, a methodology successfully used in previous studies on amphibians and reptiles (Andreone & Luiselli, 2000; Filippi & & Buckley, 2002; 2. Arntzen & García– París, 1995; 3. Barbadillo et al., 1999; 4. Bosch, 2003; 5. Busack, 1986; 6. Díaz–Paniagua, 1986Guyétant et al., 1999; 13. Lizana et al., 1994; 14. ...
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Amphibians in the Region of Murcia (SE Iberian peninsula): conservation status and priority areas Anfibios en la Región de Murcia (SE península ibérica): estatus de conservación y áreas prioritarias.- Se ha analizado el estado de conservación de las especies de anfibios presentes en la región de Murcia en función de 10 variables relacionadas con la biología y distribución de dichas especies. Los resultados obtenidos muestran que las especies de anfibios expuestas al mayor riesgo de extinción en el área de estudio son aquéllas que presentan un desarrollo larvario prolongado y una distribución restringida. En función de esta clasificación de las especies, se propone un índice que permita evaluar las áreas cuya conservación es prioritaria. En la Región de Murcia, la mayor parte de estas áreas están localizadas en los principales sistemas montañosos y limitadas principalmente a la comarca nordoccidental del área de estudio. El solapamiento entre los Parques Regionales y las áreas propuestas de conservación prioritaria es sólo del 12%. El aislamiento actual de estas áreas hace necesario emprender programas de restauración del hábitat para garantizar su conexión.
... When the larvae begin to hatch, the male toads sit in water and the larvae are released. Therefore, Alytes dickhilleni does not need a particular type of substrate or vegetation for spawning in contrast to other species of anuran amphibian such as Pelodytes punctatus (Guyétant et al., 1999) or Hyla meridionalis (Salvador and GarcíaParís, 2001 ). Hence, the detected independence of this species with respect to the microhabitat environmental variables considered suggests that the presence of water in a given water body for a long period of time would be the only condition for reproduction of Alytes dickhilleni, so that it could finish its larval phase, as was shown by Salvador and García-París (2001). ...
Article
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The influence of environmental variables on the selection of a particular water body as breeding habitat by Alytes dickhilleni was studied in the southeastern and most arid zone of its distribution range. From November 2002 to October 2003, 50 water bodies were monitored in the south east of the Iberian Peninsula. Environ - mental data were submitted to a stepwise logistic regression analysis at macrohabitat, water body typology and microhabitat scales in order to establish the main factors influencing the use of a given water body as breeding habitat by this species. Statisti - cal analysis showed that the reproduction of Alytes dickhilleni is associated with the macrohabitat variable topography, and the water body typology. This species breeds mainly in permanent water bodies located in mountainous topography in the study area. These results should be taken into account when populations of this species are subjected to management and/or recovery programmes in arid areas.
... Over the 7-year study, Pelodytes punctatus was the earliest detected species (in March), while the two other groups appeared later (in April). Pelodytes punctatus is known to exhibit high plasticity in terms of reproductive phenology (Guyétant, Temmermans & Avrillier, 1999;Jakob et al., 2003;Richter-Boix et al., 2006), which is possibly reflected here by its low detection rate at the activity peak of tadpoles (P = 0.45, P = 0.50, in April and May, respectively). While a secondary peak of reproduction is usually registered in November (Jakob et al., 2003), in the Camargue such late breeding activity appears to be facultative (during the study period only in 2004 and 2005) and less productive than in spring (total number of tadpoles captured during the 7-year period = 90, which represents only 20% of the overall production). ...
Article
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1. Although the influence of water availability and precipitation regimes on amphibians has been studied at large scales, whether and how interannual rainfall and hydrological variations affect amphibians dynamics at a local scale have rarely been addressed. In this respect, accounting for variations in species detectability in space and time has also been overlooked. 2. We assessed the effects of rainfall and hydrological variations on the breeding dynamics of three amphibian taxa: Pelodytes punctatus, Hyla meridionalis and Pelophylax spp. in 20 ponds of the Camargue region (southern France) over a 7-year study period. 3. We used multiple season occupancy models to test the effect of winter–spring rainfall and interannual variations in hydroperiod, mean water depth and drought events on tadpole presence in spring (March–June), a proxy for breeding dynamics. 4. We used an independent survey with spatial replicates (dipnet sweeps) to disentangle the relative contributions of phenology and detectability to the absence of records in a given month. For the three taxa considered, the probability of missing a species when that species was actually present in a pond was most often negligible. Hence, we could consider that multiseason models properly tracked changes in species phenology. 5. Pelodytes punctatus was first detected in March, while the two other taxa appeared later in April. Hyla meridionalis appeared as a mid-season species with much more synchronous pond occupancy than Pelodytes punctatus. The detection peak of Pelophylax spp. was short and unexpectedly early for this taxon. 6. Seasonal winter–spring rainfall was associated with a decrease in extinction rates and even more strongly with an increase in colonisation rates at individual ponds. 7. Colonisation rate increased following an annual drought and was best modelled as a negative quadratic effect of the variance of pond hydroperiod. Extinction probability was best modelled by a negative quadratic effect of mean water level. Hence, breeding was more stochastic (i) in unpredictable and shallow ponds because of yearly drying up and (ii) in highly predictable and deep ponds, possibly due to the presence of predators such as fish and crayfish. 8. Overall, we show that ponds with intermediate rather than extreme variations in environmental conditions currently correspond to optimal breeding sites. Our study demonstrates that amphibian monitoring coupled with fine-scale analysis of environmental conditions is necessary to understand species dynamics in the long run and to inform conservation efforts for these species.
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Experimental manipulations of the densities of two larval anurans, Pelodytes punctatus and Bufo bufo, showed that these species compete asymmetrically in semi-natural conditions. Growth, mass at metamorphosis, date of metamorphosis, and survival were used as measures of response to interspecific competition. A mechanistic approach was used to collect information on the behaviour of the two species in different conditions. The competitive superiority of Pelodytes at individual level was correlated with a larger body, faster growth rate, increased per capita competitive impact on conspecifics, and greater reduction in the availability of trophic and spatial resources. In the presence of Pelodytes, Bufo showed slower growth, smaller size at metamorphosis and reduced survival. In the interspecific treatments Bufo individuals modified their behaviour by increasing activity and use of the water column while Pelodytes did not change their foraging activity or space use in the aquaria. However, the presence of Bufo resulted in a reduced larval period and smaller size at metamorphosis. We hypothesise that the presence of Bufo act as a signal of environmental degradation and shorten the larval period of Pelodytes, a typical temporal pond breeder. The smaller Bufo tadpoles are potentially stronger competitors at population level because they use relatively large amounts of energy (greater densities and higher metabolic rates). Consequently, they use larger proportions of the shared resources than their larger competitor. A possible evolutionary response for larger tadpoles is the development of interference mechanisms or “escaping” from ephemeral ponds where mortality by drying represent a high risk.
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The anuran larval guild is frequently characterised by the co-occurrence, with high niche overlap, of distinct species in the same pond at variables densities during development. Anuran larvae have therefore been widely studied as a model system for competition. Body size and activity level are considered the most important factors that influence the outcome of competition between tadpoles. As species from temporary ponds normally show higher activity levels in order to achieve rapid growth and thus reduce the risk of desiccation, these species are often considered superior competitors. We designed several laboratory experiments to examine the intra- and interspecific effects on growth rate, mass at metamorphosis and survival to metamorphosis of six species in a Mediterranean area. Body size and activity level were used as explanatory covariables to determine competitive ability among species. An asymmetric and hierarchical relationship was found among the six species. Larger tadpole species were more successful in competitive interactions than smaller ones, but no relationship was found between activity level and competition effects. Species typically found in temporary ponds (Pelodytes punctatus and Bufo calamita) were considered poor competitors in contrast with other communities studied. Species with low competitive ability can persist by using refuges in which competition is reduced (e.g. ephemeral ponds).
Thesis
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Phenotypic variability tends to increase in temporally and spatially variable environments. This thesis deals with the variability of life-history traits in fragmented populations. In Mediterranean regions, Parsley frog, Pelodytes punctatus, breeds both in spring and in autumn, in response to temporal variations of its environment. I studied the origin and evolutionary consequences of its breeding strategies. Both breeding periods produce offspring (much more in autumn, though) and spring tadpoles suffer from intraspecific competition with older autumn tadpoles. Autumn laid juveniles are bigger and emerged sooner from the ponds. These developmental differences are not due to genetic differences between seasonal populations. They are explained by phenotypic plasticity in response to drastically different conditions. Even if it seems more favourable to breed in autumn, both strategies are maintained either by bet-hedging or pure opportunism. Besides, fragmentation, which increases with global changes, tends to reduce population effective size and increase genetic heterogeneity within populations. However, no inbreeding was found in the studied populations but a high family structure induced allele/fitness correlations. Together, these results enlighten the variability of breeding strategies and larval traits in Parsley frog and indicate a high phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental variations.
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We studied the age structure and the growth of a breeding population of parsley frogs, Pelodytes punctatus, from a pond system in northern Spain using skeletochronological methods. This population lives in an upland area with marked seasonal differences characterized by long, cold winters and dry summers. We assessed, using the mark–recapture method, the annual periodicity of bone growth marks. Only one line of arrested growth is laid down per winter, showing, in general, a well-defined histological structure. Females are larger than males with 43.31 and 36.32 mm average body length, respectively. This sexual dimorphism in body length increases with age. Males and females reach sexual maturity when they are 1 year old. The oldest males were 8 years old while the females were 2 years older. Growth curves for both sexes were constructed based on body size and the number of lines of arrested growth found in bone sections. The growth rate of males declined abruptly after the first year. Females delayed reproduction and continued to grow at a high rate for 2 years longer than males, thus reaching a higher asymptotic size.
Conference Paper
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The conservation status of the Italian populations of the Parsley Frog Pelodytes punctatus has been updated. Since 2004, three new sites have been discovered but five historical sites were destroyed or apparently deserted by the species. Man-made habitat modification and periods of severe drought were possibly responsible for the absence of the species. In three sites the female reproductive population appeared stable. In Italy, the species' range is clearly shrinking westwards, while several populations are disappearing even within the actual range, at cause of a combination of human and climatic events. In Italia, l'areale storico di Pelodytes punctatus (Daudin, 1802) sembra essere delimitato ad Est da Rapallo (GE) a nord da Castino (CN) e Mombaldone (AT), mentre ad occidente le popolazioni sembrano in diretta contiguità con quelle della Provenza (Castanet e Guyétant, 1989; Salvidio et al., 2004). Le popolazioni italiane, occupando una zona marginale dell'a-reale, sono considerate minacciate (Doria e Salvidio, 1994) o in pericolo di estinzione (Bo-logna e Venchi, 1998). In questo lavoro, sono presentati i dati relativi al monitoraggio effet-tuato nel biennio 2009-2010 al fine di verificare, e se possibile quantificare, la presenza della specie nei siti riproduttivi noti in letteratura. La fenologia riproduttiva della specie implica due campagne di monitoraggio all'anno (una primaverile e una autunnale), sebbene non tutte le popolazioni conosciute presentino un periodo riproduttivo autunnale (Salvidio et al., 2004; Ottonello, dati non pubbl.). In base alle capacità di dispersione della specie, i siti riproduttivi presenti in biotopi separati da meno di 500 metri sono stati considerati come appartenenti ad un'unica metapopolazione. Nel periodo 2009-2010 per ogni sito sono stati effettuati tre sopralluoghi al fine di verificare il successo riproduttivo della specie. La stima del numero di femmine riproduttive è stata effettuata indirettamente attraverso il conteggio delle ovature (Toxopeus et al., 1993), considerando quelle poste ad una distanza superiore ai 40 cm come deposte da femmine differenti (Guyétant et al., 1999).
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In Italy, the parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) reaches the eastern limit of its distribution range along the Mediterranean coast in Liguria and in southern Piedmont. The status of the Italian populations was analysed on the basis of a complete survey of known breeding sites. Since 1993, the reproduction of P. punctatus has been observed in only 15 sites, several of which were discovered during the monitoring project. Spawning sites were mainly small temporary pools, small streams and artificial tanks in Mediterranean habitats. The number of breeding females was estimated indirectly counting egg strings both in spring and autumn, from 2000 to 2002. Populations appeared isolated and made up of an extremely low number of reproductive females (range 2-19, mean 9). In Italy. P. punctatus populations show a fragmented distribution and appear threatened mainly by the drying up of pools or habitat destruction. For each reproductive site, the conservation status was evaluated, and a general conservation strategy was proposed. Active management of breeding sites, with the maintenance and/or creation of small temporary water bodies should be planned. The collaboration of private landowners and local administrations was requested, and in one case, active management of a relevant breeding site obtained.
Article
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In Italy, the parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus) readies the eastern limit of its distribution range along the Mediterranean coast in Liguria and in southern Piedmont. The status of the Italian populations was analysed on the basis of a complete survey of known breeding sites. Since 1993. the reproduction of P. punctatus has been observed in only 15 sites, several of which were discovered during the monitoring project. Spawning sites were mainly small temporary pools, small streams and artificial tanks in Mediterranean habitats. The number of breeding females was estimated indirectly counting egg strings both in spring and autumn, from 2000 to 2002. Populations appeared isolated and made up of an extremely low number of reproductive females (range 2–19. mean 9). In Italy, P. punctatus populations show a fragmented distribution and appear threatened mainly by the drying up of pools or habitat destruction. For each reproductive site, the conservation status was evaluated, and a general conservation strategy was proposed. Active management of breeding sites, with the maintenance and/or creation of small temporary water bodies should be planned. The collaboration of private landowners and local administrations was requested, and in one case, active management of a relevant breeding site obtained.
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Diets of both species studied were basically composed of algae and detritus. For Pelodytes punctatus, other food types exhibited minor contributions to the diet. For Bufo bufo, phanerogams reached considerable proportions too and the frequency of animals may be considered noteworthy if related to other species in the area. Morphologically they seem to be both conditioned to bottom dwelling rather than to the use of water column.
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The reproductive biology and population dynamics of Pelodytes punctatus were studied at the breeding season over a three year period in a coastal dune system located at the extreme northwestern border of the species' range. Adult population size estimates ranged from about 100 in the first year to 60 in the third year. Males were remarkably sedentary near the pond under artificially provided shelters. Many were observed during the most of the breeding season which lasted from mid-March or the end of March to the end of April or mid-May. Most spawning took place in the second half of March or early April. In two years out of three a second period of spawning involving fewer animals was observed in the first half of May. Both periods of spawning coincided with, or shortly followed, periods of rising median air temperature. Egg-clutches were deposited in the deepest parts of pond, mainly on submerged vegetation not reaching the surface. An average sized clutch contained approximately 360 eggs. Development of the embryos until hatching took from 4 to 14 days, depending on the ambient temperature. Larval development and growth were fast. Recently metamorphosed froglets at a size of around 18 mm were found from the end of May onwards. Juveniles may reach adult size in the autumn of the year that they were born. Adult frogs did not show a strong fidelity to the breeding pond between years. In the study area the population structure of Pelodytes punctatus seems to be best described by a source - sink model in which flourishing populations in the dunes give rise to short lived satellite populations outside the dunes.
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The mating call of Pelodytes punctatus from Algarve (Southern Portugal) is composed of two multipulsed motives, "a" and "b", lasting about 200 ms. One "a" is followed by two, three or more "b"s giving a sucession of "a-b-b-...". The inner timing in pulse rate acceleration distinguishes each motive. We suggest that the Algarve population has its own dialect, which is different from those of Camargue and Liguria, whose mating calls are longer (about 300 and 400 ms) with a syntax of "a-b" pairs. Pulse rates and durations change with temperature.
Article
The amphibian community of the Biological Reserve of Doñana (SW Spain) is composed of 10 species, their period of larval occurrence commonly taking place from autumn to early summer, although it may vary from year to year in relation to the flooding conditions of ponds. A segregation is observed according to temporal use of temporary ponds by larvae of different species. Pelobates cultripes and Discoglossus galganoi tadpoles occur in ponds during their whole persistence, from flooding to drying up. Hyla meridionalis, Triturus marmoratus and Triturus boscai larvae commonly exploit a shorter temporal range, appearing about two months later until early summer. Bufo bufo, Bufo calamita and normally also Rana perezi have the shortest larval periods, of about two months. Rana perezi is also characterized by its delay in temporal use of the ponds in comparison with the other species. The flexibility of the larval period season is considered an adaptation to the unpredictability of temporary ponds. Thus, under certain climatic conditions, the two first groups of species may occur in the same temporal range.
Article
The mating call of Pelodytes punctatus was analyzed by oscillograms and sonagrams. Above water surface, 2 types of call differing in several parameters are uttered in alternation. There is also a release call. The mating call, not uttered in series and consisting simply of uniform, short, noise-like sound pulses, seems rather undifferentiated compared with the Pelobatinae, a view supported by the more primitive habits ofPelodytes.