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Observations on nest dynamics and embryonic and larval development in the nest building gladiator frog, Hyla faber

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Nests and larval development of the nest building gladiator frog, Hyla faber were studied in southeastern Brazil, during the rainy season of 1988-1989. Nests were built at the pond margins, exclusively by males, and varied in shape, size, and composition in relation to the substrate. Nests were used by 1-4 individual males and housed larvae for a mean of 26 days; 0-6 egg clutches were deposited in a nest. Larvae from individual clutches stayed inside the nests for 8-38 days. Embryonic development occurred within the first 210 h after fertilization and larval development, inside an enclosure installed in a pond, lasted over 8 months. Mortality inside the nests was due to nest water evaporation and/or drainage, to eggs sinking in the first hours after fertilization, or to predation by aquatic insects. Slow larval development in Hyla faber seems to be related to breeding in permanent ponds. Nest building in Hyla faber and related species may have evolved from the habit of using natural depressions for egg laying observed in other morphologically similar species.

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade do Amazonas, 69077-000 Manaus AM, Brasil


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