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Keywords:

  • aggregation;
  • dispersal;
  • distribution;
  • frog;
  • reproduction

Abstract

Breeding aggregations are a reproductive strategy to increase mate finding opportunity. However, because aggregations skew the distribution of mature animals through conspecific attraction, rather than resource availability, the distribution of breeding sites may be reduced, so that not all suitable breeding sites are used. To examine the relationship between landscape and reproductive strategies of a threatened frog, Litoria aurea, we studied its distribution at Sydney Olympic Park over two breeding seasons. We aimed to: (i) determine the distribution and predictors of breeding ponds; and (ii) assess the significance of dispersal in the juvenile age-class. We found that the distribution of the calling males was highly skewed and occurred in large, well-connected ponds. Despite this, breeding ponds were not aggregated; pond size was the single factor explaining the distribution of breeding ponds. Juvenile frogs dispersed from breeding ponds and were not associated with a specific pond characteristic. Less breeding occurred in the second season during which fewer ponds were used for breeding including many different ponds from the previous year. These changes suggest that breeding effort and breeding pond choice are dynamic and therefore knowledge of the factors that drive breeding events will be a powerful tool in managing species, particularly in light of changing climatic regimes.