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Ecological correlates in Brazilian Amazonian anurans: implications for conservation

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The objective of the present study is to identify the ecological characteristics of Amazonian frogs that would make them candidates for endangered species status, and to quantify correlations between body size and geographic distribution. The study included 180 species for which information was available on life history characteristics, including reproductive mode, aquatic larval development, primary larval habitat and adult microhabitat, and activity period. Species with aquatic development were classified in eight ecological groups based on a cluster analysis. Twenty-eight of the aquatic-developing species share a stream-based larval development stage with groups of endangered or vulnerable species from Australia and Central America. The Amazonian species have geographic ranges around five times larger than their Australian and Central American counterparts. The median clutch size and geographic range in aquatic-developing anuran species were 20 percent and 3.3 percent greater, respectively, than those of terrestrial-developing species. For both aquatic- and terrestrial-developing species, body size was positively associated with clutch size. Body size was also correlated with geographic range in aquatic-developing, but not in terrestrial species. Restricted geographic ranges and a lack of populations in protected areas were recorded in both groups. Most of these species occur in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon, which not only has poor coverage of protected areas, but is becoming increasingly threatened by ongoing economic development. The systematic monitoring of the region’s anurans and the creation of new conservation units should thus be of the highest priority.

Affiliations: 1: 1Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, 88040-970, Brazil; 2: 2Coordenação de Zoologia, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Avenida Perimetral 1901, Belém, PA, 66077-530, Brazil; 3: 3Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Rua Augusto Corrêa, 01, Campus Básico, Belém, PA, 66075-110, Brazil; 4: 4Coordenação de Biodiversidade, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, AM, 69060-001, Brazil


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