Alytes logo

Diving behaviour of the Andean frog Hyla labialis

Article published in volume 20 fascicle 3, of 05/2003, pages 150 - 160



We describe the behaviour of Hyla labialis during descent, stationary phase and ascent of voluntary dives in a laboratory tank and in natural ponds. We compare dive times and activity of submerged frogs assigned to six categories established according to developmental stage, gender and reproductive state. In general, the descent took 1.6 % of the total dive time and contained 25 % of the total number of moves per dive, the stationary phase lasted 60.1 % of the total dive time and contained 12.5 % of the moves, and the ascent lasted 38.4 % of the total dive time, with 62.5 % of the moves. The longer the dive, the more moves did a frog make. Among adults, neither gender nor reproductive state was associated with differences in dive time or activity. Juvenile frogs had significantly shorter dive times than adults. The average dive time was significantly longer in a natural pond than in a laboratory tank. Individuals with longer dive times in the laboratory also had longer dive times in the field. Short dive times of juvenile frogs may be associated with their transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial habitat. Reproductive activity was not associated with a prolonged dive time and therefore no particular breath holding capacities seem to be needed for egg laying. A submerged clasping male was not in any conflict situation between sustaining reproductive behaviour and physiological limitations to hold his breath.