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Maternal brood care of an arboreal breeder, Chirixalus eiffingeri from Taiwan



Maternal brood care of an arboreal breeder, Chirixalus eiffingeri from Taiwan



Behaviour 137(1): 137-151



1. We studied the ecological aspects of maternal brood care of Chirixalus eiffingeri in bamboo forests at the Experimental Forest of National Taiwan University at Chitou, Taiwan, from 1996-1998. 2. It appears that the arboreal tadpoles of C. eiffingeri are obligatorily oophagous, maternal brood care is critical to their growth and development. If, for any reason, the female frog does not return to deposit trophic eggs into the arboreal pools, the tadpoles will not grow. 3. The female C. eiffingeri appears to be able to orient herself to the correct bamboo stump using topographical, olfactory or other cues to avoid feeding unrelated tadpoles. 4. The female C. eiffingeri devotes a large amount of energy to reproduction in that she not only invests energy to produce eggs that later become her offspring, but also allocates a tremendous amount of energy in producing eggs to feed her young. The amount of energy required for brooding and the limited number of suitable nest sites in the bamboo forests probably explain why every female frog except one in this study brooded tadpoles in only one of the bamboo stumps. 5. In most cases, all of the tadpoles in a bamboo stump were fed by only one female, but there were two bamboo stumps where two females fed the tadpoles. 6. Our results from Experiments 1-3 suggest that maternal provision of eggs for nutrition of tadpoles in C. eiffingeri incurs a reproductive cost. The female frog cannot desert her tadpoles because this will result in their deaths, thus, she is forced to withhold the future reproduction to ensure the survivorship of current offspring.

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