SREL Reprint #2445

 

 

 

Temporal variation in anuran calling behavior: implications for surveys and monitoring programs

Andrew S. Bridges and Michael E. Dorcas

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29803

Abstract: Recent awareness of amphibian declines has raised the need for effective monitoring programs. Call surveys are a standard approach to monitoring populations of most anuran species. Temporal variation in calling activity, however, may result in failure to detect some species. Automated recording systems (ARS) allow consistent sampling for extended periods with little or no disturbance to calling anurans. We used an ARS to measure temporal variation in anuran calling activity during the summer of 1997 at a Carolina bay on the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site, South Carolina. We documented considerable interspecific variation in calling activity, a phenomenon that, using traditional call survey techniques, would result in failure to detect some species. In particular, we found that Southern Leopard Frogs (Rana sphenocephala), thought to breed only in early spring and fall in the region, called consistently from midnight until dawn during July. Because protocols for most call surveys dictate that the listener survey only during early evening hours, most call surveys would not detect the presence of this species. Our results indicate that temporal variation in anuran calling activity warrants further investigation and should be considered when developing anuran monitoring programs.

SREL Reprint #2445

Bridges, A. S., and M. E. Dorcas. 2000. Temporal variation in anuran calling behavior: implications for surveys and monitoring programs. Copeia 2:587-592.

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