Spatial and temporal distribution and microhabitat use of aquatic breeding amphibians (Anura) in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Chamela, Mexico
The distribution of amphibians is affected by abiotic and biotic factors, availability of resources and the characteristics of reproductive sites. In particular, reproductive activity of aquatic-breeding anurans that inhabit tropical dry areas is affected by rainfall, which determines the availability and quality of reproductive sites. In this study, we analyzed the spatial and temporal distribution of anurans with indirect development in a tropical dry forest in Western Mexico, during two rainy seasons (July 10-October 4, 2013, and June 26-September 26, 2014). We collected data on the occupancy and reproductive activity of 15 species in four temporary streams, and evaluated their relationship with precipitation, humidity and temperature. We determined richness, abundance and diversity of species in each stream; we also identified differences in the reproductive strategies and microhabitats used by the species. The most abundant species were: Tlalocohyla smithii and Exerodonta smaragdina, whereas the least abundant were Leptodactylus melanonotus and Incilius mazatlanensis. Species richness, abundance and reproductive activity peaked alongside the stream with the greatest number of breeding sites (e.g. pools). We found temporal segregation in the occupancy and reproductive activity of species in all streams which were mainly associated with precipitation. However, occupancy and reproductive activity of some species overlapped up to four weeks during part of the breeding season. Most species used specific substrates for particular reproductive activities (e.g. oviposition), but used a range of microhabitats (leaf-litter, water, rocks, branches, leaves, logs, etc.) for others (e.g. calling). We discuss these behavioral differences as factors that facilitate coexistence of species in this environment in the rainy season.