TitleInfluences of egg laying behavior on pathogenic infection of amphibian eggs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsKiesecker, JM, Blaustein, AR
JournalConservation Biology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Mass mortality of developing amphibian eggs and larvae from pathogenic infection has been recently documented in some amphibian populations. For example, the pathogenic fungus, Saprolegnia ferax, has been linked with amphibian embryo mortality in the Pacific Northwest. Continued mortality in early life history stages may ultimately contribute to a population decline. We document the prevalence of S. ferax on embryos of three anuran species (Bufo boreas, Rana cascadae, and Hyla regilla) common to the Pacific Northwest. These species differ in key aspects of their behavior and ecology and these differences may lead to differential susceptibility to S. ferax. R. cascadae often lays its eggs communally and B. boreas usually deposits its eggs communally. We observed embryos at natural oviposition sites. Eggs laid communally, had higher mortality than those laid away from other egg masses Field experiments that manipulated both the spatial position and timing of egg laying demonstrated that eggs laid later and in closer proximity to communal masses had higher mortality. Our results suggest that eggs in communal masses are highly susceptible to infection with S. ferax.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:A1997WJ11100028