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Escalated aggressive behaviour and facultative parental care in the nest building gladiator frog, Hyla faber

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Agonistic encounters and facultative parental care in Hyla faber were observed in two localities in southeastern Brazil. Maximum male density was 0.9 and 3.3 males/m2 in Campinas and Ribeirão Branco, respectively. Aggression was escalated and the highly variable aggressive calls were specific to each phase of the encounter. The last, more aggressive phases rarely occurred in Campinas; in Ribeirao Branco they occurred frequently. Male parental care (egg attendance) was common in Ribeirao Branco while it was never observed in Campinas. Egg attendance lasted one to two nights and was observed only during high male density. The main benefit of egg attendance seemed to be avoiding nest intrusion by other males (sunken eggs and/or embryos invariably die). Males may build additional nests during egg attendance, but attending males did not attract females (they did not call).

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Caixa Postal 199, 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil; 2: Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Quinta da Boa Vista, 20940-040 Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brazil; 3: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA


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