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Effects of potential predator and competitor cues and sibship on wood frog (Rana sylvatica) embryos

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Chemical cues emitted from predators or competitors are often important for animals living in aquatic ecosystems as they allow potential prey to assess predation risk and make appropriate risk-sensitive responses. In our experiment, we examined if wood frog (Rana sylvatica) embryos exposed to potential predator and competitor cues would alter their time to hatching, size at hatching, or survivorship. Eggs from four different sibships were subjected to a variety of cues including dragonfly larvae (potential tadpole predator), mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis; a non-native potential egg and tadpole predator), and overwintered tadpoles of Rana sp. (potential competitors). We found no significant effects of any of the cues. However, we did find significant variation in mean time to hatching and mean hatchling size among sibships. Our results suggest that wood frog embryos may have limited ability to respond to some cues at the embryonic stage, at least for the concentrations and conditions used in this experiment. Our results do indicate genetic or parental effects can affect embryonic wood frog development rate and hatchling size.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023, USA; 2: Department of Biology, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023, USA;, Email: smithg@denison.edu

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853809788201144
2009-04-01
2016-12-08

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