Ecological correlates of successful colonization in the life history of the Cuban treefrog, {\it Osteopilus septentrionalis\/} (Anura: Hylidae)

Walter Emil Meshaka, Florida International University

Abstract

Ten correlates of successful colonization were tested and met in the life history of the Cuban treefrog in Florida and the Caribbean. Like many successful colonizing species of animals, the Cuban treefrog was highly fecund; reproduction was possible at a small body size in males (27.0 mm) and females (45.0 mm), and large females could lay large clutches and eggs throughout the year. Generation times were short in this species thereby accelerating the colonization process. Tadpoles and post-metamorphic individuals could exploit a wide range of physical conditions with respect to weather conditions and structure of the habitat. The Cuban treefrog occupied the terrestrial-arboreal niche which was only marginally exploited by other species in Florida. Habitat preference of the Cuban treefrog was for mesophytic forests and disturbed areas, and both habitats were found in native and introduced ranges. The ability to coexist with man further enabled the Cuban treefrog to expand its geographic range. A broad diet enabled the Cuban treefrog to exploit a wide range of prey species and sizes thereby alleviating an important constraint to colonization success. The Cuban treefrog was gregarious and vagile, thereby accelerating the process of dispersal which is crucial to the colonization process. Thus, many features in its life history enabled the Cuban treefrog to rapidly disperse and colonize, often in high population densities, many kinds of sites in its native and introduced range. Conformity to these correlates by the Cuban treefrog ultimately provides predictive power regarding the future colonization of this tropical frog. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Ecology

Recommended Citation

Meshaka, Walter Emil, "Ecological correlates of successful colonization in the life history of the Cuban treefrog, {\it Osteopilus septentrionalis\/} (Anura: Hylidae)" (1994). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9731915.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9731915

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