Do dietary carotenoids improve the escape-response performance of southern corroboree frog larvae?

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
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Dietary antioxidants can improve escape-response performance in adult vertebrates, but whether juveniles receive similar benefits remains untested. Here, we investigated the effect of two dietary carotenoids (β-carotene and lutein) on the escape-response of juvenile corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) at two developmental points (early and late larval development). We found that burst speed was lower during late larval development compared to early larval development, particularly in the low- and high-dose lutein treatments. These findings suggest that performance decreased over time, and was reduced by lutein consumption. At each developmental point we found no treatment effect on escape-response, providing no evidence for carotenoid benefits. A previous study in corroboree frogs demonstrated that carotenoids improved adult escape-response, so our findings suggest that benefits of carotenoids in this species may be life-stage dependent. Continued investigation into how carotenoids influence escape-response at different life-stages will provide insights into mechanistic links between nutrition and behaviour.

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