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Multiple clutches, egg mortality and mate choice in the mid-wife toad, Alytes obstetricans

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Egg laying, clutch brooding, egg survival and mate choice were investigated in the mid-wife toad, Alytes obstetricans (Lataste) at a small reservoir in central Spain during 1986 and 1987. Females divided their total egg production into at least three separate clutches. The majority of males brooded between one and three clutches of eggs, though one may have brooded four. First clutches received by males were 24-34% larger than subsequent clutches. No significant differences were found in egg fertilisation, survival and hatching success between individual clutches. The results show that females prefer to spawn with non-brooding males rather than brooding males but that they will spawn with brooding males. When spawning with brooding males they lay smaller clutches than with non-brooding males.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Furzebrook Research Station, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5AS


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