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The effect of artificial light on male breeding-season behaviour in green frogs, Rana clamitans melanota

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Artificial night lighting (or ecological light pollution) is only now gaining attention as a source of long-term effects on the ecology of both diurnal and nocturnal animals. The limited data available clearly indicate that artificial light can affect physiology and behaviour of animals, leading to ecological consequences at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Aquatic ecosystems may be particularly vulnerable to such effects, and nocturnally breeding animals such as frogs may be especially affected. To address this potential, we quantify the effects of artificial light on calling and movement behaviour in a rural population of male green frogs (Rana clamitans melanota (Rafinesque, 1820)) during the breeding season. When exposed to artificial light, frogs produced fewer advertisement calls and moved more frequently than under ambient light conditions. Results clearly demonstrate that male green frog behaviour is affected by the presence of artificial light in a manner that has the potential to reduce recruitment rates and thus affect population dynamics.

L'éclairement artificiel de nuit (la pollution lumineuse écologique) commence tout juste à être reconnue comme une source d'effets à long terme sur l'écologie tant des animaux diurnes que nocturnes. Les rares données disponibles indiquent clairement que la lumière artificielle peut affecter la physiologie et le comportement des animaux, avec des conséquences sur l'écologie de la population, de la communauté et de l'écosystème. Les écosystèmes aquatiques pourraient être particulièrement vulnérables à ces effets, surtout les animaux à reproduction nocturne comme les grenouilles. Afin de vérifier ces conséquences potentielles, nous mesurons les effets de la lumière artificielle sur les comportements d'appel et de déplacement chez une population rurale de grenouilles vertes (Rana clamitans melanota (Rafinesque, 1820)) mâles durant la saison de reproduction. Exposées à la lumière artificielle, les grenouilles émettent moins d'appels de signalisation et se déplacent plus fréquemment que sous un régime de lumière ambiante. Ces résultats démontrent clairement que le comportement des grenouilles vertes mâles est affecté par la présence de lumière artificielle d'une façon qui pourrait réduire les taux de recrutement et ainsi affecter la dynamique de la population.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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