Evolution of parental care in dart poison frogs (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae)


*Biologisches Institut I (Zoologie) der Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Albertstr. 21 a, D-7800 Freiburg i. Br.


Dendrobatid frogs perform a unique mode of parental care, ranging from egg attendance and tadpole transport to tadpole feeding. It is hypothesized that a behaviour in which the egg attending parent remains with the cluch is the most primitive condition. In more advanced forms or parental care, the male is able to attend several clutches of eggs. Tadpole attendance and feeding, finally, started as deceit; the male induced the female to lay eggs into a bromeliad leaf axil already occupied by a larva. Costs and benefits of the different modes of parental care and possible alternative reproductive tactics are discussed.