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Hatching dynamics and bet-hedging in a temperate frog, Pseudophryne australis (Anura: Myobatrachidae)

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Embryonic development to the time of hatching was found to vary within and between clutches of the red crowned toadlet, Pseudophryne australis. Hatching occurred over many developmental stages, from 24 to 36 (modified Gosner stage). The time taken from oviposition to hatching varied from 15 days to 119 days. In order to determine whether hatching is triggered by environmental cues or is constitutive, clutches were held under constant conditions and compared with those held under conditions similar to the field. Hatching was staggered in all cases implying a constitutive basis. We postulate that this diversification of phenotypes in P. australis is a bet-hedging strategy driven by the unpredictable rainfall conditions within the range of the species.

Die Entwicklung der Embryonen des australischen Frosches Pseudophryne australis bis zum Schlüpfen variierte innerhalb und zwischen Gelegen. Das Schlüpfen trat bei vielen Entwicklungsstadien ein. Der Zeitverlauf bis zum Schlüpfen variierte zwischen 15 und 119 Tagen. Gelege wurden unter konstanten Bedingungen gehalten und mit Gelegen in natürlichen Bedingungen verglichen, um festzustellen, ob das Schlüpfen durch Umweltreize angeregt wird, oder ob das Schlüpfen konstitutiv ist. Da das Schlüpfen in allen Behandlungen versetzt war, wird vermutet, dass das Schlüpfverhalten konstitutiv ist. Wir postulieren, dass die Verschiedenartigkeit der Phänotypen bei Pseudophryne australis eine vorbeugende Strategie ist, die durch die nicht voraussagbaren Niederschlagsverhältnisse im Verbreitungsgebiet der Art bedingt wird.


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