Effects of mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) cues on wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpole activity

Katherine F. Buttermore, Paige N. Litkenhaus, Danielle C. Torpey, Geoffrey R. Smith, Jessica E. Rettig


We examined the changes in activity of wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles exposed to combinations of visual, chemical, and mechanical cues of the invasive mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). We also examined whether the responses of the tadpoles to the predator cues were influenced by the short-term accumulation of chemical cues in the experimental container. In our experiment, the activity of wood frog (L. sylvaticus) tadpoles was not affected by the presence of various cues from mosquitofish. Our experiment demonstrated that the repeated use of trial water can influence the activity level of tadpoles, regardless of the predator cue treatment used. Tadpoles in the first trial tended to be less active than tadpoles in subsequent trials. This effect does not appear to be mediated by the accumulation of predator cues since there was no significant interaction term. Our results suggest that short-term accumulation of predator chemical cues do not affect the behavior of wood frog tadpoles: however, our results suggest that the repeated use of the same water in consecutive trials may affect tadpole behavior, perhaps through the accumulation of conspecific chemical cues.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Acta_Herpetol-9580

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