Larval tolerance to salinity in three species of Australian anuran: an indication of saline specialisation in Litoria aurea

Brian David Kearney, Phillip Gregory Byrne, Richard Reina

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Recent anthropogenic influences on freshwater habitats are forcing anuran populations to rapidly adapt to high magnitude changes in environmental conditions or face local extinction. We examined the effects of ecologically relevant elevated salinity levels on larval growth, metamorphosis and survival of three species of Australian anuran; the spotted marsh frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis), the painted burrowing frog (Neobatrachus sudelli) and the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), in order to better understand the responses of these animals to environmental change. Elevated salinity (16 seawater) negatively impacted on the survival of L. tasmaniensis (35 survival) and N sudelli (0 survival), while reduced salinity had a negative impact on L. aurea. (16 seawater: 85 survival; 0.4 seawater: 35 survival). L. aurea tadpoles survived in salinities much higher than previously reported for this species, indicating the potential for inter-populations differences in salinity tolerance. In L. tasmaniensis and L. aurea, development to metamorphosis was fastest in low and high salinity treatments suggesting it is advantageous for tadpoles to invest energy in development in both highly favourable and developmentally challenging environments. We propose that this response might either maximise potential lifetime fecundity when tadpoles experience favourable environments, or, facilitate a more rapid escape from pond environments where there is a reduced probability of survival.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere43427
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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