, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 131-141

Feeding ecology of thirteen syntopic species of anurans in a seasonal tropical environment

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Summary

Thirteen species of anurans belonging to three families forage diurnally for arthropods in the leaf litter of the lowland rainforest at the Río Llullapichis in Amazonian Perú. This paper investigates the diets and patterns of coexistence in this group of ecologically similar species. All thirteen species use the forest floor habitat without apparent differentiation. Most species take prey in proportions significantly different from those occurring in the leaf litter and comprise two specialist guilds: dendrobatids and bufonids that eat hard-bodied, slow-moving arthropods such as ants and mites; and leptodactylids that eat soft-bodied, mobile arthropods, primarily orthopterans and large spiders. Dendrobates femoralis (Boulenger) is a generalist, taking prey in proportions not significantly different from those in the leaf litter. Within specialist guilds, body sizes of species vary and are correlated with the size of prey taken. Foraging behavior and predator defense also correlate with the type and sizes of prey taken. Ant specialists tend to be poisonous and active searchers, taking many small prey per day. Non-ant specialists are cryptic, sit-and-wait foragers that take few large prey per day. Similarity in diet within guilds tends tobe lowest in the dry season when food is less abundant, suggesting that food is in short supply in the dry season.