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The Reproductive Behavior of the Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

Michael J. Ryan
Copeia
Vol. 1980, No. 1 (Feb. 1, 1980), pp. 108-114
DOI: 10.2307/1444139
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1444139
Page Count: 7
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The Reproductive Behavior of the Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
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Abstract

The mating system of a population of bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana, in New Jersey is resource defense polygyny. The sex ratio of the breeding population is skewed toward males. Males defend territories against conspecifics by stereotyped postures, vocalizations and physical combat. Females select mates and oviposit in the male's territory. This system presumably evolved in response to the prolonged breeding season, the temporally asynchronous arrival of females at the breeding pond, the skewed operational sex ratio and the ability of males to gain indirect access to females through defense of oviposition sites. This study is compared with previous reports of bullfrog social behavior. General characteristics of the mating system in different parts of the range are discussed. There are consistencies in social behavior within the species. However, there is a degree of behavioral plasticity previously unreported in anuran breeding behavior.

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