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Cave Breeding and Froglet Transport: A Novel Pattern of Anuran Brood Care in the Jamaican Frog, Eleutherodactylus cundalli
Rudolf Diesel, Gernot Bäurle and Peter Vogel
Vol. 1995, No. 2 (May 3, 1995), pp. 354-360
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1446898
Page Count: 7
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Reproduction and brood care of the Jamaican frog Eleutherodactylus cundalli was studied in the Windsor Great Cave from 1992 to 1994. The frogs entered the cave for mating and egg deposition. Males were territorial and called from exposed rock sites. Ovigerous females searched for mates and oviposition sites. Both sexes were found up to 87 m deep into the cave. Egg development was direct and exceeded 31 days. The females attended the clutch until hatching. They returned to their nests after being removed and released outside the cave. Egg mortality in 1993 appeared to be caused mainly by fungus infection and by predation in 1994. Hatched froglets climbed on the backs of their mothers who eventually transported them outside of the cave. Eleutherodactylus cundalli is the first frog reported to breed in caves and to transport fully metamorphosed young. The unique breeding habitat appears to favor egg development by providing an environment with fairly stable and moderate temperatures and high humidity. Froglet transport seems to safeguard the passage of the offspring from the cave to the forest feeding-habitat.