Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Homing behavior in Fowler's Toads (2021)

Citation

Jreidini, Nathalie; Green, David M. (2022), Homing behavior in Fowler's Toads (2021), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.x3ffbg7ms

Abstract

Homing abilities have been widely documented in amphibians, but it remains unclear whether individuals have homing tendencies in the absence of motivational cues related to breeding and site fidelity. We tested whether artificial displacement would affect the movement behavior of a nonphilopatric terrestrial amphibian, the Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), within its home range and after its breeding season had ended. We translocated 65 male and female Fowler’s Toads from their initial points of capture a total of 104 times over one of three different distances (100 m, 250 m, and 500 m) and compared these toads’ subsequent 24-h movements with those of a control group of 43 untranslocated toads. To shield the translocated toads from auditory, visual, and olfactory cues en route, we translocated them in opaque enclosed boxes and performed the experiment in the uniformly unobstructed landscape of the Lake Erie shoreline of Long Point, ON, Canada. We mainly investigated directionality bias as the orientation between control and translocated groups, homing tendency as the correlation between movements after translocation and translocation distance, and homing accuracy as the variation in distance between final and initial capture points. Our results provide clear evidence that translocation changes the movement behavior of these toads and that they possess homing tendencies outside of their breeding season. Toads had a strong directional bias to move in the opposite direction to the one in which they were artificially displaced, in contrast with the control group, which showed no directional bias among 61 recorded 24-h movements. This tendency for amphibians to home after artificial displacement might be a significant confounding factor in any procedure involving their relocation.

Methods

The dataset was collected through a capture-mark-recapture method extensively used on this population in previous studies. Individuals were translocated (n = 104) to three distances (100 m, 250 m, 500 m) as an extension of the survey method. Homing tendency was assessed as the distance between the release site post-translocation to the final capture site, 24 hours later, in comparison to the distance translocated from the initial capture point.

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: RGPIN-2018- 04857

Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Award: SARSP 60-20-McGill