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Thread: Crispy dartfrog, anyone?

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    Default Crispy dartfrog, anyone?

    AJC's Frogroom (UK) August 27th, 2010 09:25 AM: Crispy dartfrog, anyone?

    Seasonal rainfall affects tropical forest dynamics and behavior of species that are part of these ecosystems. The positive correlation between amphibian activity patterns and rainfall has been demonstrated repeatedly. Members of Dendrobatidae, a clade of Neotropical dart*poison frogs, are well known for their habitat use and behavior during the rainy season, but their behavior during the dry season has received little attention. We studied habitat use and diet of the dendrobatid frog Dendrobates tinctorius in French Guiana during the rainy and dry seasons. Unlike many other dendrobatid frogs, D. tinctorius does not maintain territories for the entire rainy season. Both sexes colonize recently formed canopy*gaps and stay in these forest patches for only a few weeks. The frogs in these patches consume a great diversity of prey, consisting of ants, beetles, wasps, insect larvae, and mites. During the dry season, frogs move to retreat sites in mature forest, such as palm bracts and tree holes. The frogs are less active and consume fewer prey items in the dry season, and they consume fewer wasps and insect larvae, but more termites. Ants are the most common prey items during both the wet and dry seasons. We discuss the effects of shifts in seasonal habitat use on the territorial behavior of dendrobatid frogs.

    "Activity patterns of Dendrobates tinctorius responded to seasonal variation in rainfall. During the rainy season, both males and females colonized recently formed tree-fall gaps and stayed in these forest patches for only a few weeks. The recently fallen, leafy tree crowns probably offered shelter while foraging, as well as a large variety of prey items that were consumed by D. tinctorius (e.g., beetles, mites, wasps, and insect larvae). Frogs that were caught in mature forest during the wet season had lower diversity of prey items in their stomachs and primarily consumed ants. During the dry season, frogs were found primarily in mature forest where they occupied retreat sites in palm bracts, under decaying wood, and in tree holes. These retreat sites were used collectively by the frogs, as also is the case in the sister species, D. auratus. Retreat sites also were used as sites for tadpole deposition. Although tadpoles are known to be cannibalistic, we found five of them together in a water-filled palm bract.

    Not only did frogs reduce their activity when rainfall decreased, they also consumed fewer prey and a lower diversity of prey items during the dry season. During the dry season, the diet shifted towards a reduction in the consumption of wasps and insect larvae, and more commonly contained termites. Ants were the most common prey items during wet and dry season. Our results show that during the wet season, Dendrobates tinctorius opportunistically colonizes recently formed tree-fall gaps and individual frogs stayed there for only a few weeks.

    Male Dendrobates tinctorius did not establish territories that lasted for the entire rainy season, in contrast to the behavior of most other species of dart-poison frogs."

    If you keep this species, give them a rest at least once a year - a cooler, drier period which matches their natural environment.

    Full Blog Article
    Last edited by John; August 27th, 2010 at 11:15 AM.

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