Behavioral ecology of Pseudacris crucifer.
Hwang, Carolyn; Graham, Bobby; Bentley, Meredith
AbstractTadpoles develop quickly; thus, they are ideal subjects for studying behavioral ecology. Adaptations should allow them to increase fitness when exposed to less than optimal conditions. Behavior can consequently provide clues to a species' survival strategy. To test this, reactions of larval spring peeper frogs, Pseudacris crucifer, to environment color, refuge, food, predation, and illumination were tested in simulated environments. It was observed that tadpoles alter behavior according to the combination of variables presented. They showed significant preference for black environments to white environments, open water to refuge with or without food, and intense light to darkness (p<0.05). Tadpoles avoided predators when they were present although they seldom seemed completely cautious of them. This study supports theories that P. crucifer is better at defending itself against predation rather than competing with other species for resources. Little was known about zebra mussel distribution in Douglas Lake before this study. UMBS faculty members became aware of their presence in 2002, but their presence in Douglas Lake was not officially documented. Douglas Lake was monitored for zebra mussels by the Michigan Sea Grant in 1993, 1994, 1998, and 1999, but no adults were found (MSG, 2003). The results of this study were reported to the Michigan Sea Grant. It is my hope that zebra mussel populations and their impacts on the Douglas Lake ecosystem will continue to be monitored in the future.
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