Communal Spawning in the Common Frog Rana temporaria– Egg Temperature and Predation Consequences

Authors


Jon Loman, Department of Animal Ecology, University of Lund, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden. E-mail: jon.loman@zooekol.lu.se

Abstract

Females of the common frog, Rana temporaria, spawn synchronously at communal breeding sites, forming a communal egg mass of individual spawn clumps. A total of four spawning sites were studied. In the centre of the communal egg mass, daily maximum temperature was higher and minimum temperature lower than further out. Spawn clumps in the centre of the communal egg mass developed faster than single spawn clumps. In the centre of the egg masses, some spawn clumps suffered almost total egg mortality. This was probably the consequence of a cold spell with sub-zero temperatures in combination with a tendency for low minimum temperatures in the centre. In a laboratory study, worm leeches, Erpobdella spp., fed readily on eggs of common frog, while horse leeches, Haemopis sanguisuga, hardly ate any eggs. At the spawning sites, most worm leeches were found in single spawn clumps, far from the communal egg mass. Females which spawned late, when most of the spawning was over, preferred to spawn in the centre of the communal egg mass. This suggests that there is a net advantage for eggs in spawn clumps laid in the centre.

Ancillary