Post-Breeding Dispersal and Summer Home Range of Female American Toads (Bufo americanus)

  • Forester D
  • Snodgrass J
  • Marsalek K
 et al. 
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While many amphibians have complex life cycles involving a primarily terrestrial adult phase and an aquatic larval phase, use of terrestrial habits by adult forms remains poorly understood. We used radiotelemetry to track the post-breeding dispersals of 16 female Bufo americanus during the summer and fall of 2001 to determine the extent of upland habitat use by females of this species. Female toads dispersed a minimum of 250 m and up to 1000 m from the breeding pond with the majority (97%) of relocations occurring more than 400 m from the breeding site. Typically dispersal paths were non-random and linear, punctuated by periods of sedentary behavior. During periods of sedentary behavior females confined their activities to an area of several m^sup 2^. Females employed 24-h movements of up to several hundred m when moving between activity centers. For 8 toads with > 22 recaptures, total area of upland habitat utilization ranged from 434 to 1305 m^sup 2^ (mean = 717.7 m^sup 2^). All 16 toads were lost prior to entering winter torpor, including 10 confirmed cases of predation. Our study of post-breeding dispersal by female American Toads suggests terrestrial habitat use extending up to 1 km from the breeding site is common, and emphasizes the need for consideration of terrestrial as well as aquatic habitats in the development of conservation plans. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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  • Don C. Forester

  • Joel W. Snodgrass

  • Katherine Marsalek

  • Zachary Lanham

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