A1 Journal article (refereed)
Aposematism facilitates the diversification of parental care strategies in poison frogs (2021)

Carvajal-Castro, J. D., Vargas-Salinas, F., Casas-Cardona, S., Rojas, B., & Santos, J. C. (2021). Aposematism facilitates the diversification of parental care strategies in poison frogs. Scientific Reports, 11, Article 19047. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97206-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Carvajal-Castro, Juan D.; Vargas-Salinas, Fernando; Casas-Cardona, Santiago; Rojas, Bibiana; Santos, Juan C.

Journal or series: Scientific Reports

eISSN: 2045-2322

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 24/09/2021

Volume: 11

Article number: 19047

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97206-6

Research data link: https://figshare.com/s/338fc287ef792d432bb8

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78360

Publication is parallel published: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8463664/


Many organisms have evolved adaptations to increase the odds of survival of their offspring. Parental care has evolved several times in animals including ectotherms. In amphibians, ~ 10% of species exhibit parental care. Among these, poison frogs (Dendrobatidae) are well-known for their extensive care, which includes egg guarding, larval transport, and specialized tadpole provisioning with trophic eggs. At least one third of dendrobatids displaying aposematism by exhibiting warning coloration that informs potential predators about the presence of defensive skin toxins. Aposematism has a central role in poison frog diversification, including diet specialization, and visual and acoustic communication; and it is thought to have impacted their reproductive biology as well. We tested the latter association using multivariate phylogenetic methods at the family level. Our results show complex relationships between aposematism and certain aspects of the reproductive biology in dendrobatids. In particular, aposematic species tend to use more specialized tadpole-deposition sites, such as phytotelmata, and ferry fewer tadpoles than non-aposematic species. We propose that aposematism may have facilitated the diversification of microhabitat use in dendrobatids in the context of reproduction. Furthermore, the use of resource-limited tadpole-deposition environments may have evolved in tandem with an optimal reproductive strategy characterized by few offspring, biparental care, and female provisioning of food in the form of unfertilized eggs. We also found that in phytotelm-breeders, the rate of transition from cryptic to aposematic phenotype is 17 to 19 times higher than vice versa. Therefore, we infer that the aposematism in dendrobatids might serve as an umbrella trait for the evolution and maintenance of their complex offspring-caring activities.

Keywords: frogs; evolution; diversification; animal behaviour; reproductive behaviour; warning coloration

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:27