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.

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pdf 06.Diel activity patterns during autumn migration to hibernation and breeding sites in a Japanese explosive breeding frog Rana sakuraii


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pp. 173-180

Author: Tokio Miwa

Abstract: Relatively few studies have investigated diel activity patterns in amphibians; in particular, such studies focusing on autumn
migration are lacking. I investigated the diel activity patterns during autumn instream migrations (to hibernation and breeding
sites) of Rana sakuraii, an explosive breeding frog, at mountain headwaters in Japan. Successive censuses at 2-h intervals,
over a period of 24 h, were conducted 15 times during 4 years (2001, 2002, 2013 and 2014). The diel activity pattern was not
significantly different between the sexes. It was clearly bimodal nocturnal (almost like a crepuscular type), with the first peak
appearing at 1600–2400 h and the second peak appearing at 0400–0800 h. The diel activity was highly correlated with day
time, but not with water and air temperatures. However, it was controlled primarily by illumination rather than by the day
time, because relatively many frogs migrated even during the day when it was very dark due to overcast or rainy weather and
during the midnight time (0000–0400 h) when the environment was slightly illuminated by moonlight owing to clear weather.
In contrast, the diel activity pattern during the winter breeding migration was clearly unimodal, with the peak at 1600–2400 h,
probably because the ambient temperature during the second peak was too low, even though the illumination was suitable.
The results presented herein demonstrate that R. sakuraii requires an optimum ambient illumination; consequently, its diel
activity shows a bimodal nocturnal pattern.

Keywords: autumn migration, bimodal nocturnal, crepuscular, diel activity, instream migration, Rana sakuraii

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