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Keywords:

  • amphibia;
  • Rana temporaria;
  • breeding site selection;
  • environmental parameters

Abstract

A 7-year monitoring of potential oviposition ponds of the European common frog Rana temporaria, in northern Bavaria, Germany, indicated that breeding ponds were not randomly used. Site fidelity could not consistently explain this pattern. Because amphibians are known to select oviposition sites according to certain habitat characteristics, we investigated pond parameters that may drive breeding site selection in that area. We recorded 44 abiotic and biotic parameters, including variables within-ponds, predator presence, as well as habitat characteristics of the terrestrial area surrounding the ponds. However, multifactorial statistics such as non-metric multidimensional scaling, hierarchical clustering and random forest algorithm as well as single-factor comparisons could not highlight common habitat features of chosen ponds. The results of this study indicate that breeding site choice is more than a pure function of habitat characteristics, and that understanding the reproductive biology, even of such a widespread species as R. temporaria, needs more research effort.