How Long do Trinidad’s Frogs Take to Reach Metamorphosis?

J.R. Downie


A key parameter in the life history of any amphibian is the time taken from spawning to metamorphosis. This is the phase when most species (terrestrial direct developers and some others are exceptions) require an aquatic habitat where they are faced by a range of potential predators. Many amphibians spawn in temporary water bodies where they are unlikely to suffer predation by fish, but such pools are inhabited by many invertebrate predators, notably odonate and coleopteran larvae. Temporary pools hold water for varying times, relating to speed of drainage and evaporation, depth profile and pattern of rainfall. Since few tadpole species can survive their pool drying up, we might expect species that breed in temporary pools to minimise the duration of the larval period, to improve their chances of metamorphosing before the pool disappears.

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