Climate drives anuran breeding phenology in a continental perspective as revealed by citizen-collected data

Lucas Rodriguez Forti, Fábio Hepp, Juliana Macedo de Souza, Airan Protazio, Judit K. Szabo

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Aim: As anuran reproduction is generally linked to the availability of water, frogs and toads are particularly sensitive to climate. We tested the effect of climate on anuran reproductive phenology and daily activity by analysing temporal patterns of reproductive behaviour based on citizen-collected observations. Location: Brazil. Methods: We obtained vocalizations and photographs of frogs with inflated air sacs, as well as images of amplectant couples, nests, eggs or tadpoles in initial stages of development from iNaturalist. We analysed hourly patterns, seasonality and duration of the reproductive period using circular statistics in different climate types and tested phylogenetic signals. We analysed data for Bufonidae, Hylidae, Leptodactylidae and Phyllomedusidae in detail. We also reviewed relevant literature. Results: Among the 8478 (acoustic and photographic) records, 738 (8.7%) had evidence of reproduction with 284 acoustic records and 454 photographs, representing 184 taxa identified at the species level belonging to 16 families. Climate affected the period and duration of the reproductive season, as well as daily patterns of vocalization. These results were considered phylogenetically independent, as the reconstructions of ancestral character states did not suggest strong phylogenetic signals for temporal patterns of vocalization or reproduction. In Brazil, most frogs reproduce between October and January. Patterns were similar to the results of the literature review, however in the literature data, Bufonidae start reproduction 2 months earlier, and many Hylidae species reproduce until February. In general, frogs from warmer and drier climate regions had shorter and aggregated reproductive seasons, while in tropical monsoon climate they had a uniform temporal pattern. Main conclusions: At the continental scale, reproductive phenology of anurans and their daily activity is affected by climatic conditions regardless of phylogeny. We found that community science can provide valuable information in Brazil that can be harnessed to monitor effects of climate change on amphibian reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2094-2109
Number of pages16
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Issue number10
Early online date22 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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