2014 | VOLUME 31 | ISSUES 3-4

Scientific Note

Jelly secretion by a foam-nesting tree frog Chiromantis simus (Anura: Rhacophoridae): an unreported behaviour

Ananda Banerjee green envelope

Pages: 77-82

Chiromantis simus, a foam-nesting rhacophorid frog, previously considered extinct from India, was re-discovered in 1998. Surprisingly it is abundant at the village of Rajpur and its surroundings. This species is a true monsoon breeder and produces foam nests between June and October. Generally, during foam-nesting the female initially lays an egg mass without foam coating (i.e., “uncovered”). Later, she produces a foamy liquid and evenly covers the egg mass with it. I collected an uncovered egg mass before a female went to the water source below to absorb water. After returning, the female waited for 4 hours when she did not find the egg mass near the twig and then, by a process of continuous rubbing of her hind limbs, she secreted a thick jelly-like substance from the cloaca, instead of the foamy substance. Additional observations on the egg laying behaviour showed that uncovered egg masses were always attacked by ants, while those egg masses covered by foam were never attacked. Chiromantis simus foam-nesting is mostly polyandrous but, when a female has to deal with too many males in amplexus, she leaves the egg mass without depositing an additional foam coating, which may be why some clutches can be found uncovered.

Published: 20 December 2014