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Variability in escape trajectory in the Trinidadian stream frog and two treefrogs at different life-history stages

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Abstract:

Most studies investigating anuran jumping behaviour have examined the relationship between body size and parameters such as jump distance, velocity, and force; however, few have investigated jump trajectory. We constructed an arena to determine escape trajectories in relation to the direction of an artificial stimulus in the aromobatid Mannophryne trinitatis (Garman, 1888) and two treefrogs, Trachycephalus venulosus (Laurenti, 1768) and Hypsiboas geographicus (Spix, 1824). Three categories of M. trinitatis (i.e., tadpole-transporting males, nontransporting males, and females) and three ontogenetic stages of the treefrogs were compared. Mannophryne trinitatis escaped in a broadly predictable trajectory away from the stimulus, although jump trajectories were highly variable, suggesting a degree of unpredictability. No systematic differences were found between categories of M. trinitatis, adding to the findings of previous studies that larval transport incurs no measurable locomotor costs on antipredatory jumping behaviour with regards to jump angle and distance. The treefrogs showed similar patterns of escape trajectory and unpredictability. There were no consistent differences between life-history stages and no relationship between distance jumped and angular deviation. In M. trinitatis and H. geographicus, there was some evidence of bimodality in escape trajectory. The results are discussed in the context of other work on escape trajectories and the concept of “protean” defence strategies.

La plupart des études qui se sont intéressées au comportement de saut chez les anoures ont examiné la relation entre la taille corporelle et des variables, telles que la distance, la vitesse et la force du saut; peu ont considéré la trajectoire du saut. Nous avons construit une arène pour déterminer les trajectoires de fuite en fonction de la direction d’un stimulus artificiel chez un aromobatidé, Mannophryne trinitatis (Garman, 1888), et deux grenouilles arboricoles, Trachycephalus venulosus (Laurenti, 1768) et Hypsiboas geographicus (Spix, 1824). Nous avons comparé trois catégories de M. trinitatis, des mâles porteurs de têtards, des mâles non porteurs et des femelles et trois stades ontogéniques des grenouilles arboricoles. Mannophryne trinitatis s’échappe en suivant une trajectoire globalement prévisible qui s’éloigne du stimulus, bien que les trajectoires des sauts soient très variables, indiquant une certaine imprévisibilité. Il n’existe pas de différences systématiques entre les catégories de M. trinitatis, ce qui corrobore les résultats d’études antérieures qui ont démontré que le transport des larves n’entraîne pas de coûts additionnels mesurables de locomotion dans le comportement de sauts anti-prédateurs en ce qui a trait à l’angle et la distance du saut. Les grenouilles arboricoles ont des patrons semblables de trajectoires de fuite et d’imprévisibilité. Il n’y a pas de différences stables entre les stades du cycle biologique et aucune relation entre la longueur du saut et l’écart angulaire. Chez M. trinitatis et H. geographicus, il y a des indications de bimodalité dans les trajectoires de fuite. Nous discutons des résultats dans le contexte d’autres travaux sur les trajectoires de fuite et du concept des stratégies de défense « protéennes ».

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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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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