The Homing Frog: High Homing Performance in a Territorial Dendrobatid Frog Allobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae)


  • The copyright line for this article was changed on 24 June 2014 after original online publication.


Dendrobatidae (dart-poison frogs) exhibit some of the most complex spatial behaviors among amphibians, such as territoriality and tadpole transport from terrestrial clutches to widely distributed deposition sites. In species that exhibit long-term territoriality, high homing performance after tadpole transport can be assumed, but experimental evidence is lacking, and the underlying orientation mechanisms are unknown. We conducted a field translocation experiment to test whether male Allobates femoralis, a dendrobatid frog with paternal extra-territorial tadpole transport, are capable of homing after experimental removal, as well as to quantify homing success and speed. Translocated individuals showed a very high homing success for distances up to 200 m and successfully returned from up to 400 m. We discuss the potential orientation mechanisms involved and selective forces that could have shaped this strong homing ability.