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The effects of two fish predators on Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles in a subarctic wetland: Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada

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Fish can have strong predatory impacts on aquatic food webs. Indeed, fish are known to have strong effects on amphibians, with some species being excluded from communities where fish are present. Most research with amphibians and fish has focused on lower latitudes and very little is known of amphibian–fish interactions at higher latitudes. Therefore, we conducted an enclosure experiment in a subarctic natural wetland to examine the predatory effects of two species of fish, brook sticklebacks (Culaea inconstans (Cuvier, 1829)) and ninespine sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius (L., 1758)), on the survival and growth of Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus (LeConte, 1825)). We found no significant difference in survival and size at metamorphosis among the two fish species treatments and fish-free treatments. We found that individuals from fish-free treatments metamorphosed earlier than those from either fish species present treatment. Our work suggests that stickleback fish predation may not have a major impact on Wood Frog tadpole survival and growth in a subarctic wetland. Sticklebacks may still have an impact on earlier developmental stages of Wood Frogs. This work begins to fill an important gap in potential factors that may impact larval amphibian survival and growth at higher latitudes.

Keywords: amphibian; amphibien; metamorphosis; métamorphose; predation; prédation; stickleback; subarctic; subarctique; temporary wetland; zone humide temporaire; épinoche

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA. 2: Department of Biology, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR 72035, USA. 3: Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Churchill, MB R0B 0E0, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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