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Sex ratio of breeding Common toads (Bufo bufo) – influence of survival and skipped breeding

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Anuran sex ratio at breeding sites is typically male biased. Such sex ratios may be due to poor female survival, to females not breeding as frequently as males and/or to males becoming sexually mature earlier than females. In the present study, the first two factors are analyzed in a common toad (Bufo bufo) population in southern Sweden. Toads were captured, marked and recaptured at the breeding site during 5 years. Within season capture patterns were analyzed using the Jolly-Seber model and among-year captures using the Closed robust design model. Population estimates of males and females yielded an among year variation in breeding population sex ratio, ranging from 16% to 34% females. On average, 41% (proportion adult alive but not breeding) of the females skipped breeding seasons, whereas the corresponding estimate for males was less than 5%. Yearly survival averaged 42% for adult female and 63% for adult male toads. First year adult males and females had a lower survival rate than older toads. Our results demonstrate that both a female biased mortality rate and a higher proportion of skipped breeding in females contribute to the observed male biased sex ratio. However, a deterministic model suggests other factors may also be involved to obtain this degree of male biased sex ratio, the most likely being that females mature at a later age than male toads.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Ecology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden;, Email:; 2: Department of Animal Ecology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, Animal Ecology Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Baross u. 13, H-1088 Budapest, Hungary, School of Biological Science, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia


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