Annual Variation in the Population Ecology of the Endangered Gopher Frog, Rana sevosa Goin and Netting

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Stephen RichterORCID iD icon


Biological Sciences

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We studied variation in the population ecology of dusky gopher frogs, Rana sevosa Goin and Netting, in southern Mississippi from 1996–2001. Specifically, we measured adult size structure, adult survivorship, residency length within the pond, and juvenile recruitment using a drift fence that completely enclosed the study pond. Population size structure shifted among years because of lack of recruitment in previous years, adult mortality, and differential age at maturity. Age at maturity was 6–8 months for males and 24–36 months for females. Annual survival ranged from 65 to 92%; however, the rate at which adults returned to breed among years was low (16–22%). The average number of seasons that adults bred was 1.2, although nine individuals bred in 3–5 seasons. Our data suggest that R. sevosa has high population turnover among years and that most adults live less than 7 yr. Because of the low rate of return of adults among years and complete isolation of the population, the viability of the population is contingent on consistent recruitment of juveniles with minimal years of reproductive failure.

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