The Effects of the Presence of Dragonfly Predators on the Morphology of the Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)
A laboratory experiment was preformed to determine the effects of predation on the morphological plasticity of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris). Four treatments, each comprised of five replicates included predators, mashed conspecifics, predators and mashed conspecifics and a control group. Different morphological features were measured and a statistical analysis of these features was performed to determine the overall effect of predation. Predation, or the presence of chemical cues released from the predator or the skin of the injured amphibian, had a significant effect on muscle development. Specifically, tadpoles reared in the presence of predators or mashed conspecifics developed thicker tail musculature. This modified tail development could be advantageous in avoiding predators. This study may lead to a better understanding of the environmental dependent phenotypic plasticity of the spotted frog.