Thermal Dependence of Behavioural Performance of Anuran Amphibians

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The thermal dependence of performance capacity was assessed in two anuran amphibians: Bufo boreas (western toad) andRana pipiens (leopard frog). Quantitative measurements of performance showed that Bufo could sustain slow rates of walking for 10 min and cover greater distances than Rana, which initially jumped more vigorously but fatigued within 5 min. Changes in performance with changes in body temperature were virtually instantaneous, and performance exhibited no acclimation over 7 days. Within the range of temperatures studied, performance capacity increased with increasing body temperature and reached a maximum at 28 C in Bufo and 20 to 29 C in Rana. Performance capacity and the underlying metabolic processes had a similar thermal dependence within a species. The behavioural capacity for activity is apparently maximal for both species at body temperatures normally encountered in the field. Anuran behaviours requiring sustained activity (migration to breeding sites, mating, foraging) must therefore be markedly temperature-sensitive.



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