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The effect of supplemental feeding on the territorial behavior of the green frog (Rana clamitans)

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The green frog, Rana clamitans, exhibits a resource defense mating strategy whereby males advertise for mates and defend territories along the shoreline of breeding ponds for periods up to several weeks. Because male green frogs may be energy-limited during the breeding season, I tested the predictions that males provided with extra food would 1) have longer tenures on territories, 2) show reduced movement between territories (due to greater site specificity), and 3) expend more energy in calling and territory defense. I tested these predictions by supplementally feeding frogs and by conducting regular surveys of frog location and behavior over the course of the breeding season in a fenced-in pond. My results support the second prediction but do not support the first and third predictions. Supplementally-fed male green frogs moved less than half the distance of sham-fed males. Green frog males reduce foraging but do not increase activities associated with aggression and territorial defense when food resources are more abundant.


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