Predator complement determines the relative success of tadpoles of the Rana esculenta complex

Bradley R. Anholt, Sonja Negovetic, Claudia Rauter, Christian Som

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Question: Does the identity of the apex predator in a system predict the relative success of closely related amphibian larvae? Organisms: Larvae of the hybridogenetic european frog, Rana kl. esculenta, and its sexual host, R. lessonae. Site: Three ponds supporting predatory fish and four ponds without fish but containing large invertebrate and amphibian predators in northern Switzerland. Background: Rana esculenta is a better competitor than R. lessonae in a wide range of conditions and is also a larger, more fecund frog than R. lessonae. Under most conditions, models predict competitive exclusion of R. lessonae followed by extinction of R. lessonae. Methods: In the field, we measured the change in frequency of the two taxa from the larval stage to metamorphosis. In the laboratory, we measured the activity of the two taxa and measured their vulnerability to odonate predators. Conclusions: In the presence of fish, the frequency of R. lessonae declined relative to R. esculenta from the larval stage to metamorphosis. In the absence of fish and presence of other predators, the opposite was true. Rana esculenta was more active than R. lessonae and more vulnerable to predation. The two taxa are adapted to different predator complexes and the hybridogenetic system is maintained by occasional dispersal between dissimilar water bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Activity
  • Co-existence
  • Distribution
  • Habitat segregation
  • Hybridogenesis
  • Predation
  • Rana esculenta complex
  • Tadpoles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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