The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 03. Cannibalism and kin discrimination in tadpoles of the Amazonian poison frog, Dendrobates ventrimaculatus, in the field


Open Access


Authors: Kyle Summers And Rebecca Symula

Abstract: Two experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of kinship on aggression and cannibalism in the Amazonian poison frog, Dendrobates ventrimaculatus, in eastern Ecuador. Firstly, we placed pairs of kin and pairs of non-kin tadpoles in plastic cups, allowed them to interact over a food item and videotaped their behaviour. The videotapes were analysed for aggressive and associative behaviour. Secondly, we placed pairs of tadpoles in manipulated natural pools in the field, and left them together for one month. The results of the videotaped behavioural experiments did not indicate strongly preferential treatment of kin, although biting was rare in the kin treatments but common in some non-kin treatments. The field experiments indicated that both kin and non-kin tadpoles are likely to be cannibalized if they coexist with larger tadpoles in Heliconia pools for a substantial period of time. Ultimately, the study was inconclusive with respect W the occurrence of kin discrimination. However, the study provides important information relevant to the study of kin discrimination by dendrobatid tadpoles in the field.

Keywords: cannibalism, kin recognition, Dendrobates, behaviour

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