German Journal of Herpetology

Nothacker, J. A., C. P. Neu, M. Mayer, N. Wagner & S. Lötters

In Issues 2018

Homing behavior in the Neotropical poison frog Ameerega trivittata. pp. 30-36.

Abstract. Neotropical poison frogs (Aromobatidae, Dendrobatidae) are known for their complex behavior including site fidelity and home range maintenance. It has been shown in a few poison frog species that these amphibians are able to return to their home ranges after experimental translocation. In this study we asked if Ameerega trivittata can be allocated to the species performing homing behavior. In this taxon, males and females show home range behavior, while sexes were not distinguished in our study. Fieldwork was carried out in a wild population at Panguana (Peru), using replacement distances of 150 m, 600 m and 900 m. In total, 79 frogs were translocated. Most rapidly returned to their home ranges from all translocation distances, with a decrease of the homing success with longer distance. Among the poison frogs studied so far, it is remarkable that A. trivittata is the only one known to be able to return from 900 m (which perhaps is a remarkable homing distance for anurans in general), while maximum return distances in other species are less than 50% of this. Ameerega trivittata is one of the largest poison frogs (maximum snout–vent length 55 mm). However, long distance homing was not explained by the species’ body size. We rather expect that ‘good knowledge’ of the general area (in terms of integration of learned landmarks) that frogs live in is the reason for the ability of long distance homing in our focal taxon.

Key words. Amphibia, Anura, Dendrobatidae, experimental translocation, Peru, site fidelity.