Male parental care and its adaptive significance in a neotropical frog

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Title: Male parental care and its adaptive significance in a neotropical frog
Author: Townsend, Daniel; Stewart, Margaret; Pough, F. Harvey
Abstract: In the Puerto Rican frog Eleutherodactylus coqui, parental care is performed exclusively by males, and consists of attending the eggs and hatchlings at a terrestrial oviposition site. The two major behavioural components of parental care are egg brooding and nest defence against conspecific egg cannibals. Defence behaviour includes aggressive calling, biting, sustained biting, wrestling, and blocking directed against nest intruders. Parental care lasts from oviposition to hatching (17–26 days) and often for several days after hatching. During pre-hatching development, males are present in their nests 97.4% of the time during the day and 75.8% of the time at night. A large portion of this time is spent brooding eggs. In a field experiment, males were removed from their nests and the fate of clutches was monitored. Compared to control clutches (males not removed), experimental clutches had significantly lower hatching success and suffered significantly greater mortality from desiccation and cannibalism. Hence, parental care yields significant benefits to male fitness via increased offspring survival.
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Date: 1984-05

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