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Unique courtship and spawning behaviour in the wrinkled frog, Nyctibatrachus humayuni

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Frogs of the genus Nyctibatrachus (family Nyctibatrachidae) exhibit a unique reproductive behaviour. They may completely lack or have an abbreviated amplexus, deposit terrestrial eggs and even offer paternal care. We studied the courtship and spawning behaviour of Nyctibatrachus humayuni from Matheran located in the northern region of the Western Ghats of India. The breeding season of N. humayuni coincides with the onset of south-west monsoon. Adult males vocalise from their calling sites on wet rocks/dead logs that often harbour egg clutches and females approach the calling males, resulting in a loose cephalic amplexus that lasts up to 10 minutes. The male dismounts and sits aside; then the female deposits the eggs and moves away from the spawning site or into the water. The mean clutch size and the egg diameter are found to be 30.3 ± 1.89 and 2.44 ± 0.04 mm, respectively. Once the female moves away following spawning, the male slowly moves on to the eggs and fertilises them. The males of N. humayuni appear to be territorial and offer parental care by attending the eggs only during night. Paternal egg attendance most probably reduces the risk of predation by nocturnal predators.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411 007, India;, Email:; 2: Department of Zoology, University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411 007, India


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