Unusual behavior of amphibians

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Evgeny Kotelevsky
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Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Evgeny Kotelevsky » March 25th, 2017, 8:58 am

During my herp trip to Israel I came across something strange that I can't understand. In one of the ponds on Mount Carmel I found Hyla savignyi in amplexus with Salamandra infraimmaculata. I've never seen anything like this before and I can't understand why it happened. Salamanders have poison glands along the back and I doubt that H. savignyi is immune to salamanders' poison. Can anybody explain this unusual behavior of amphibians?

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Naja Bungarus
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Naja Bungarus » March 25th, 2017, 4:13 pm

I have nothing informative to add regarding this. But I do have to say that they look like a great loving couple :thumb:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Kelly Mc » March 25th, 2017, 7:01 pm

It was just an anomalous misindentification of the frog incited by being in the water, anuran drive to breed, and some triggering outline of the salamanders supraorbital area - its heads strongest feature. The frog has no evolved precedence to avoid its toxins.

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rpecora
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by rpecora » March 25th, 2017, 7:11 pm

It's a male thing.
Interestingly, that looks like the same Salamandra infraimmaculata you posted on March 5th from your trip in Feb.

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mfb
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by mfb » March 26th, 2017, 9:04 am

Great photos!

It is not uncommon to find frogs amplexing salamanders. Male frogs are often in a breeding frenzy. When they amplex other frogs of the same species, the frogs "release call" tells them to let go. But salamanders can't make the release call, so the frogs may hang on for a longer time.

You might find this paper on Unusual Amplexus between frogs and salamanders to be interesting. It includes a Salamandra example.

And here is a video of some North American wood frogs amplexing a tiger salamander:



Mike

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Kelly Mc » March 26th, 2017, 5:06 pm

Cool paper :thumb: In captive situ I have observed male fire bellied toads indiscriminately grab one another with much fervor and it was instigated during water changes to the tank. I wondered if it was the agitation of the water simulating rainfall, or if it was a response to percieving a catastrophic threat - reproduce before some of us perish type of phenomena.

I have some Whites Tree Frogs that are personally kept animals together for over 15 years, they seem to heartily stimulate each other to call in the evenings, but I know the cry of the one that always ends up getting clasped.

The thing with the sallie toxin being mentioned by some posters as why it would be odd for the frog to do this, and what I mentioned as being moot, is seen sometimes in other situations that are unusual. The sallies toxin is only a 'fact' to us, it isnt a 'fact' to the frog. Not yet anyway and probably never, I dont think these mixed species events has any impact on the need to adapt to it for frog population survival. jmo

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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by MCHerper » March 27th, 2017, 8:31 am

Great observations/explanations from Kelly MC and mfb. My thought is that the salamander came within 'courting' proximity to the calling frog and ended up being amplexed for some time. Mfb referenced wood frogs, they are explosive breeders and males will amplex anything that moves (and even sticks and other inanimate objects) in their breeding frenzy. Occasionally we will find drowned yellow spotted salamanders and the assumption is that they were drowned in a mating ball of wood frogs. The frogs don't seem to be affected by the glandular secretions of the spotted salamander. I've witnessed wood frogs amplexing spotted salamanders with no ill effects. I'm not sure how the poison of the Salamandra in your case compares to that of the spotted salamander.

I'm curious about the population density of H. savignyi in the location where you found it, and whether it is a prolonged breeder or not?

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Evgeny Kotelevsky
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Evgeny Kotelevsky » March 27th, 2017, 9:56 am

Thanks guys for your comments and explanations :)

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Evgeny Kotelevsky
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Evgeny Kotelevsky » March 27th, 2017, 9:58 am

MCHerper wrote:Great observations/explanations from Kelly MC and mfb. My thought is that the salamander came within 'courting' proximity to the calling frog and ended up being amplexed for some time. Mfb referenced wood frogs, they are explosive breeders and males will amplex anything that moves (and even sticks and other inanimate objects) in their breeding frenzy. Occasionally we will find drowned yellow spotted salamanders and the assumption is that they were drowned in a mating ball of wood frogs. The frogs don't seem to be affected by the glandular secretions of the spotted salamander. I've witnessed wood frogs amplexing spotted salamanders with no ill effects. I'm not sure how the poison of the Salamandra in your case compares to that of the spotted salamander.

I'm curious about the population density of H. savignyi in the location where you found it, and whether it is a prolonged breeder or not?
There were 2 maiting pairs and this male in amplexus with salamander :)

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Evgeny Kotelevsky
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Re: Unusual behavior of amphibians

Post by Evgeny Kotelevsky » March 27th, 2017, 10:03 am

rpecora wrote:It's a male thing.
Interestingly, that looks like the same Salamandra infraimmaculata you posted on March 5th from your trip in Feb.
It is the same salamander from my previous photos :) we rid her of the frog

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