The diet of a forest-dependent frog species, Odorrana morafkai (Anura: Ranidae), in relation to habitat disturbance

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 Faculty of Biology-Biotechnology, University of Science, Vietnam National University-HCMC, 227 Nguyen Van Cu street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • | 2 Australian Museum Research Institute, Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia
  • | 3 Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
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While deforestation is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss, our understanding of the effects of habitat modification on species is limited. We investigated the diet of a forest-dwelling frog species, Morafka’s frog (Odorrana morafkai), in a highland forest in Vietnam in relation to habitat disturbance, sex and season. We surveyed the species at 45 sites in forest of varying disturbance and examined its diet using stomach flushing, estimating prey availability via trapping. We detected significantly fewer O. morafkai in highly disturbed habitats compared to moderately disturbed or non-disturbed habitats. We revealed that O. morafkai is a dietary generalist, identifying 28 prey types, primarily invertebrates. Prey composition, the number of prey items per stomach and prey volume per stomach did not vary between disturbance levels. Diet did not vary significantly between sexes, except that females had a higher prey volume. Prey composition in the species varied between seasons, with Coleoptera and Orthoptera dominating the diet in the rainy season and Lepidoptera in the dry season. The number of prey items per stomach and prey volume were significantly higher in the rainy season. There was a significant correlation between prey availability and diet composition. The low number of O. morafkai detected in highly disturbed habitats suggests that this habitat may not be optimal for the species, despite having a generalist feeding strategy and presumed high mobility. This study provides a window into the impact of an increasing threat, habitat disturbance, on forest-dependent amphibian species.

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