Microhabitat use during brumation in the Japanese treefrog, Dryophytes japonicus

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Abstract

Although amphibians undergo drastic changes in physiology and behaviour before hibernation, this phase of their life cycle (i.e., brumation) is the least understood. We investigated the patterns of microhabitat use by Dryophytes japonicus during brumation using a Harmonic Direction Finder to track 27 adults in October 2013. Most frogs used chestnut trees throughout their diel cycle. The species was most active within the “leafy vegetation” microhabitat, moving about 2 m within 72 h on average, and mostly circa 10 AM. Frogs moved less in the four other microhabitats, with individuals moving between 1 m and 50 cm, typically during the early afternoon. Around 3 pm, the microhabitat mostly used was “on bark”, with displacements almost totally halted. The use of microhabitats and shelters, as well as movements in relation to time of day, suggests that D. japonicus displays behavioural thermoregulation during brumation. This research is the first providing insights in the brumation ecology of a non-freeze-resistant Palearctic anuran.

Microhabitat use during brumation in the Japanese treefrog, Dryophytes japonicus

in Amphibia-Reptilia

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Figures

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    Linear mixed-effects regression model results depicting the impact of abiotic variables on vertical space use above and below 5 meters height for Dryophytes japonicus in Paju, Korea.

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    Variation in body temperature between sheltered (n=154) and non-sheltered individual (n=146) Dryophytes japonicus during brumation in Korea. The line within the box represents the mean; the top and bottom lines represent 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively; top and bottom whiskers represent 95 and 5 percentiles, respectively; asterisks represent outliers. The body temperature was significantly different between the two groups.

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    Linear mixed-effects regression model results explaining the impact of abiotic and abiotic variables on “shelter use” during brumation for Dryophytes japonicus in Korea.

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    Tree species and microhabitat use by Dryophytes japonicus in Korea. One hundred percent of occurrences matches corresponds to the sum of all values for each of the three tree species and the six microhabitats.

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    Mixed-effects regression with microhabitat use as dependent variable performed to define which variables were important for the use of a specific microhabitat by Dryophytes japonicus in Korea.

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    Descriptive statistics for microhabitat use and the relation with tree species and total use. Dryophytes japonicus had a clear preference for chestnut trees and was found in majority on leafy vegetation. Air temp. (in °C) is the average when the corresponding microhabitats are used. The SD on the last row relates to the air temperature.

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    Microhabitat use and body temperature during brumation for Dryophytes japonicus in Korea. The minimum and maximum temperatures were recorded when the individuals were on leafy vegetation and on the ground, respectively (below ground: n=8, below leafy vegetation n=69, below tree bark n=60, on ground n=49, on leafy vegetation n=85, on tree bark n=29). The line within the box represents the mean; the top and bottom lines represent 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively; top and bottom whiskers represent 95 and 5 percentiles, respectively; asterisks represent outliers. LSD post hoc analyses showed that “on leafy vegetation” was significantly different from “on ground” (p=0.008), “under tree bark” (p<0.001), and “under leafy vegetation” (p<0.001).

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    Displacement in relation with time of day for each microhabitat used by Dryophytes japonicus during brumation in Korea. All points from the same microhabitats share a centroid (rounds markers). The location of centroids represent the average time of day at which activity occur for a given microhabitat, and indicates an increase in activity in the early afternoon (below ground: n=8; below leafy vegetation: n=69; below tree bark: n=60; on ground: n=49: on leafy vegetation: n=85; on tree bark: n=29). Some aspects of the graphics might only be fully comprehensible in the PDF version where they are reproduced in colour.

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    Linear Mixed-effects Regression Model with movement as dependent variable. Dryophytes japonicus was in movement at specific microhabitats and height only.

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