Reproduction and metamorphosis in the Myristica Swamp tree frog, Mercurana myristicapalustris (Anura: Rhacophoridae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:Abraham, Mathew, Raju, Rao, Zachariah
Date Published:Jan-01-2018
Keywords:Amphibia, Animal Behavior, Conservation biology, Developmental Biology, ecology, India, Myristica swamp, Reproductive mode, Rhacophoridae, zoology

The reproductive biology of the Myristica Swamp tree frog (Mercurana myristicapalus- tris), a monotypic rhacophorid frog endemic to the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains of India, has remained unknown since the description of the genus and species. We monitored individuals from parental generation amplexus to the comple- tion of offspring generation tadpole metamorphosis. Surprisingly, our observations revealed that this species exhibits many previously unknown characteristics, including the first ever record of the female, and a diverse call repertoire, consisting of five different call types (the functions of which remain incompletely known). We were also able to determine that reproductive activity peaked during the late pre-monsoon season, that males engaged in intraspecific aggressive encounters to occupy and to defend desirable territories, and that oviposition took place in terrestrial nests made by females. Embryonic development in the unattended nest was followed by tadpole development, which concluded within 40 days. The specific breeding mode employed by Mercurana, which restricts its range to the endangered Myristica swamp ecosystem, likely renders it susceptible to multiple threats, which should be considered jointly in future conservation planning.

BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith