We report an unusual example of reproductive parasitism in amphibians. Dendrobates variabilis, an Amazonian poison frog, oviposits at the surface of the water in small pools in plants and deposits tadpoles within the pools. Tadpoles are highly cannibalistic and consume young tadpoles if they are accessible. Deposition of embryos and tadpoles in the same pool is common. Genetic analyses indicate that tadpoles are frequently unrelated to embryos in the same pool. A pool choice experiment in the field demonstrated that males carrying tadpoles prefer to place them in pools with embryos, facilitating reproductive parasitism via cannibalism.
- Deposition strategies
- Egg cannibalism
- Reproductive parasitism
Brown, J. L., Morales, V., & Summers, K. (2009). Tactical reproductive parasitism via larval cannibalism in Peruvian poison frogs. Biology Letters, 5(2), 148-151. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2008.0591