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Interspecific Social Interactions and Breeding Success of the Frog Rana latastei: A Field Study

Authors


Gentile Francesco Ficetola, Department of Biology, Università degli Studi di Milano, V. Celoria 26, 20133 Milan, Italy. E-mail: francesco.ficetola@unimi.it

Abstract

Interspecific reproductive interference can affect fitness-related breeding performance, thus influencing fitness and distribution of populations. Laboratory studies demonstrated the social interference of Rana dalmatina males on R. latastei breeding females: the presence of heterospecific males reduced the percentage of viable embryos in R. latastei eggs. Here, we tested if the negative effects of R. dalmatina males on R. latastei reproductive success occur in field conditions. We compared the percentage of viable embryos of eggs laid in field conditions from populations where R. latastei breeds alone with the percentage of viable embryos of populations where R. latastei cohabits with R. dalmatina. We did not find any significant difference in percentage of viable embryos between R. latastei populations syntopic and allotopic with R. dalmatina, nor a relationship between the relative abundance of heterospecifics and reproductive success. In natural conditions, the presence of heterospecific males does not seem to interfere with the reproductive success of R. latastei. The experimental procedure may influence the interaction among individuals. Therefore, we suggest to validate on natural populations the results of experiments dealing with complex interactions.

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