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Effects of pond structural complexity on the reproduction of Physalaemus ephippifer (Anura, Leptodactylidae)

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Habitat structure is a factor that strongly affects the distribution of organisms. Habitats with high structural complexity provide a high number of microhabitats, allowing the coexistence of species with different behavioral, ecological and physiological requirements. We analyzed the effects of structural complexity of ponds on the number of males and foam nests of Physalaemus ephippifer, and the substrates to which individuals attach their foam nests. We sampled 41 ponds and recorded the number of individuals of P. ephippifer and environmental data (type of vegetation in, adjacent and around the pond; type of bottom substrate in the pond) to measure the degree of structural complexity of the ponds through an index ranging between 0 and 1. We found a positive influence of pond structural complexity on mean number of calling males, but not on number of foam nests. We found most foam nests attached to gramineans and herbaceous plants. Vegetation is an important component of habitats with high complexity, providing refuges for adults and tadpoles. The index was an efficient tool to measure habitat structural complexity, and may be used in further studies with other species.

Affiliations: 1: 1Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, Campus de Tomé-Açu, Tomé-Açu, Pará, Brazil ; 2: 2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Pará and Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Pará, Brazil ; 3: 3Laboratório de Ecologia e Zoologia de Vertebrados, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Pará, Brazil ; 4: 4Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Pará, Brazil

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