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Behavioural and Ecological Aspects of the Association Between Cyclocypris Globosa (Sars, 1863) (Cypridoidea, Cyclocypridinae) and Bombina Variegata (L., 1758) (Anura, Bombinatoridae) in Temporary Pools in Austria

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A colonization mode of freshwater ostracods through active clinging to larger animals was previously reported in the genus Cyclocypris by several authors. However, only an association of Cyclorypris globosa with the Yellow-bellied toad Bombina variegata seems to comply with criteria of phoresis, and seems to be quantitatively relevant for an advantageous dispersal. 1. The attachment activity of ostracods reaches a peak after rainfall, when all potential aquatic sites of the area are filled and goes to zero in decreasing water levels, before the area dries up. The triggering factor cannot be a foreseeable dry phase of the pools to avoid desiccation. 2. Rain also triggers spawning-migration activity of the host-toads. At times of/after rain, especially the distribution in the pools and the pool-to-pool-movements of toad males promote a massive dispersal of the toad-associated ostracods. 3. A 28.8% (n = 178) of the ostracods left their host-toads after one hour of terrestrial exposure when put back in water for five minutes. The majority of ostracods forcibly picked off from a host do not move for a while; their grip on the toad's integument seems to go in parallel with motionlessness. 4. Temporary pools cannot support a permanent population over more than approx. 10 to 30 years. The ecological advantage of an active dispersal by ostracods is discussed as de novo population foundation in successively younger aquatic sites to overcome the extinction of the resident populations in successively older pools.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria


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