The locomotor capacity of amphibians depends strongly on temperature and hydration. Understanding the potential interactions between these variables remains an important challenge because temperature and water availability covary strongly in natural environments. We explored the effects of temperature and hydration on the hopping speeds of Rhinella granulosa, a small toad from the semiarid Caatinga and the Atlantic Rain Forest in Brazil. We asked whether thermal and hydric states interact to determine performance and whether toads from the Caatinga differ from their conspecifics from the Atlantic Forest. Both dehydration and cooling impaired hopping speed, but effects were independent of one another. In comparison to performances of other anurans, the performance of R. granulosa was far less sensitive to dehydration. Consequently, dehydrated members of this species may be able to sustain performance through high body temperatures, which agrees with the exceptional heat tolerance of this species. Surprisingly, toads from both the Caatinga and the Atlantic Forest were relatively insensitive to dehydration. This observation suggests that migration or gene flow between toads from the forest and those from a drier region occurred or that toads from a dry region colonized the forest secondarily.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology