Maternal Care and Obligatory Oophagy in Leptodactylus fallax: A New Reproductive Mode in Frogs.
Copeia 2004(1):128-135. 2004. https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-02-091R2
Leptodactylus fallax is an endangered frog (Leptodactylidae) found only on Montserrat and Dominica in the eastern Caribbean. Here we report the first captive breeding of this species and document a unique reproductive strategy with an unprecedented level of maternal care. Male frogs fought and dominant animals occupied a nesting burrow. Males enticed females into the burrow with a trilling bark call (100–120 calls/min). A terrestrial foam nest was produced after 9–14 h. Female frogs remained close to their foam nests and defended them aggressively throughout larval development (42–57 days). Females fed larvae (26–43 per nest) trophic (unfertilized) eggs. Many provisioning events (10–13) were recorded, supplying a total of 10,000—25,000 eggs. Male frogs also remained close to the burrow and defended the site. Trophic eggs were the exclusive food source for the developing larvae, and L. fallax is therefore probably displaying a new form of amphibian endotrophy.