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Parental investment, potential reproductive rates, and mating system in the strawberry dart-poison frog, Dendrobates pumilio

Abstract

We studied the effect of relative parental investment on potential reproductive rates (PRRs) to explain sex differences in selectivity and competition in the dart-poison frog Dendrobates pumilio. We recorded the reproductive behavior of this species in a Costa Rican lowland rainforest for almost 6 months. Females spent more time on parental care than males, and `time out' estimates suggest that PRRs of males are much higher than than those of females, rendering females the limiting sex in the mating process. Males defended territories that provide suitable calling sites, space for courtship and oviposition, and prevent interference by competitors. Male mating success was highly variable, from 0 to 12 matings, and was significantly correlated with calling activity and average perch height, but was independent of body size and weight. Estimates of opportunity for sexual selection and variation in male mating success are given. The mating system is polygamous: males and females mated several times with different mates. Females were more selective than males and may sample males between matings. The discrepancy in PRRs between the sexes due to differences in parental investment and the prolonged breeding season is sufficient to explain the observed mating pattern i.e., selective females, high variance in male mating success, and the considerable opportunity for sexual selection.

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Received: 9 June 1998 / Received in revised form: 27 March 1999 / Accepted: 3 April 1999

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Pröhl, H., Hödl, W. Parental investment, potential reproductive rates, and mating system in the strawberry dart-poison frog, Dendrobates pumilio . Behav Ecol Sociobiol 46, 215–220 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s002650050612

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  • Key words Potential reproductive rates
  • Parental investment
  • Territoriality
  • Sexual selection
  • Dendrobates pumilio