Variation in spectral reflectance among populations of Dendrobates pumilio, the strawberry poison frog, in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

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Abstract Aim 

The goal of this study was to quantify levels of variation in spectral reflectance within and among populations of Dendrobates pumilio, the strawberry poison frog from the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Location 

This study was carried out in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, in the Republic of Panama, Central America. Methods 

Spectral reflectance was measured for samples of individuals from fifteen distinct island and mainland populations, using an Ocean Optics 2000 spectrometer and a BiLink portable computer. Results 

Our results provide quantitative evidence for extreme polymorphism among populations, and more limited levels of polymorphism within some populations. No obvious signs of sexual dimorphism were found. All the colour morphs appear to have relatively little reflectance in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. There is some evidence for clinal variation in colour and pattern across some mainland populations. There is also at least one area where distinctly different morphs occur in sympatry, suggesting the possibility of incipient reproductive isolation. We argue that variation in coloration may have been enhanced by sexual selection.

Keywords: Amphibian; Central America; aposematism; archipelago; colour; divergence; neotropical; poison frog; polymorphism; spectral reflectance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD, USA and 2: Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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