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Terrestrial Movements and Upland Habitat Use of Gopher Frogs in Central Florida

W. Boyd Blihovde
Southeastern Naturalist
Vol. 5, No. 2 (2006), pp. 265-276
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3878206
Page Count: 12
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Terrestrial Movements and Upland Habitat Use of Gopher Frogs in Central Florida
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Abstract

In recent years, researchers have begun to focus on the upland habitat requirements of pond-breeding amphibians. The increased attention is due to a general lack of knowledge about the terrestrial phase of the life history of most pond-breeding species and a concern over loss of upland habitats. In this study, radio telemetry was used to determine the terrestrial behavior of Rana capito (Gopher Frogs) in central Florida. Frogs were captured at Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise) and Geomys pinetis (pocket gopher) burrows. Surgically implanted radio transmitters were used to follow nine Gopher Frogs at various times between September 1999 and May 2000. Radio-located frogs used from one to four terrestrial shelters ($Mean \pm S.D. = 2.28 \pm 1.11$). Terrestrial movements ranged in total distance from zero to 35 m ($Mean \pm S.D. = 15.28 \pm 15.29$). Mean minimum convex polygons (m2) were calculated for each frog ($Mean \pm S.D. = 45.29 \pm 79.73$). Gopher Frogs showed strong site fidelity to both pocket gopher and Gopher Tortoise burrows. Drought conditions could have resulted in an underestimate of movement distance and an overestimate of site fidelity to upland shelters. Upland habitat should be managed to protect all species of terrestrial burrowers; in doing so, Gopher Frogs will be managed.

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