Homing is a behavior in which an animal returns to a specific place after they have moved or migrated to a distant place. In anurans, most of our knowledge about homing comes from studies in temperate-region species with nocturnal activity and reproduction associated with ponds. Recently, studies with poison frogs (Dendrobatidae) have increased our understanding about homing in tropical frogs with diurnal activity, and that do not breed in large ponds. The Rubí Poison Frog Andinobates bombetes offers a good opportunity to further increase the knowledge of behavioral ecology of homing in anurans because some natural history traits in this species differ from those exhibited in most poison frogs in which homing ability has been studied. For instance, A. bombetes have a smaller body size and use phytotelmata in bromeliads for tadpole development while others use terrestrial pools. To quantify the homing ability and the factors influencing it in A. bombetes, we performed translocation experiments of individuals at distances between 5 and 90 m outside their territory in a forest remnant located in the department of Quindío, Central Andes of Colombia. In this study, we included a large sample size of females, which is important because homing studies with poison frogs has been almost exclusively studied in territorial males. Of 104 displaced individuals, 39 returned to their territory. The probability of homing in A. bombetes was negatively related to the translocation distance, but was unrelated to body size and sex. Apparently, this species has a limited homing ability when compared to most poison frogs studied so far except for O. pumilio, which seems more similar in body size and resources used for reproduction. Overall, homing ability appears to be widely shared in the family Dendrobatidae, Andinobates being the fourth genus of this family for which homing ability has been corroborated experimentally.
Homing in the Rubí Poison Frog Andinobates bombetes (Dendrobatidae)
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Luisa F. Arcila-Pérez, Michelle A. Atehortua-Vallejo, Fernando Vargas-Salinas; Homing in the Rubí Poison Frog Andinobates bombetes (Dendrobatidae). Copeia 1 December 2020; 108 (4): 948–956. doi: https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-19-284
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