Defensive behaviors in Bokermannohyla luctuosa (Pombal and Haddad, 1993) (Anura, Hylidae)

Matheus Toledo Moroti, Guilherme Sestito, Mariana Pedrozo, Ibere Machado, Diego José Santana


Anurans are preyed on by a wide diversity of vertebrates and invertebrates, which use different senses and predatory strategies to capture them. For this reason, it is believed that such diversity is the main factor causing such wide defensive repertoire for anurans. To better understand the defensive mechanisms of Bokermannohyla luctuosa, here in we study and describe the defensive behavior repertoire observed for this species. The study was carried out at the Parque Natural Municipal Augusto Ruschi, a conservation unit located in the municipality of São José dos Campos, São Paulo State.  Behaviors were observed when approaching and while manipulating the animal., The 18 individuals of B. luctuosa   presented six undocumented behaviors for the species, which were: contracting, puffing up the body, crouching down, slippery secretions, immobility, and flee. Flee was the most common behavior, observed in all individuals after being released. For all individuals, the only previously reported behavior that we observed was odoriferous secretions. Our observations support the hypothesis that defensive strategies may present a certain plasticity, according to the predation event and the predator, since we found that different defensive strategies were adopted in situations with or without manipulation. The species B. luctuosa has eight different defensive mechanisms, which may or may not be used simultaneously. We present the first record of the defensive behaviors of puffing up the body, slippery secretion, and contracting for the Bokermannohyla genus, further demonstrationg that many aspects about the behavior and natural history for these tree frogs are still unknown.

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