Predator-induced Swarms in the Tadpoles of an African Savanna Frog, Phrynomantis microps


Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie, Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany. E-mail:


Aggregations in tadpoles of the West African savanna frog Phrynomantis microps were often observed in their breeding ponds in our study area, situated in Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast. Experiments under seminatural conditions demonstrated that this behaviour was only shown while predators were present. The tadpoles reacted differently to different predators. Factors inducing swarm behaviour were optical (the predator) and/or chemical (liquid from injured tadpoles). Alarm substances are not species-specific. Kinship seems not to play a role in swarm formation.