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Eye size and investment in frogs and toads correlate with adult habitat, activity pattern and breeding ecology.

Authors
  • Thomas, Kate N1
  • Gower, David J1
  • Bell, Rayna C2, 3
  • Fujita, Matthew K4
  • Schott, Ryan K2
  • Streicher, Jeffrey W1
  • 1 Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK.
  • 2 Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560-0162, USA.
  • 3 Department of Herpetology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.
  • 4 Department of Biology, Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
Publisher
The Royal Society
Publication Date
Sep 30, 2020
Volume
287
Issue
1935
Pages
20201393–20201393
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.1393
PMID: 32962540
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Frogs and toads (Amphibia: Anura) display diverse ecologies and behaviours, which are often correlated with visual capacity in other vertebrates. Additionally, anurans exhibit a broad range of relative eye sizes, which have not previously been linked to ecological factors in this group. We measured relative investment in eye size and corneal size for 220 species of anurans representing all 55 currently recognized families and tested whether they were correlated with six natural history traits hypothesized to be associated with the evolution of eye size. Anuran eye size was significantly correlated with habitat, with notable decreases in eye investment among fossorial, subfossorial and aquatic species. Relative eye size was also associated with mating habitat and activity pattern. Compared to other vertebrates, anurans have relatively large eyes for their body size, indicating that vision is probably of high importance. Our study reveals the role that ecology and behaviour may have played in the evolution of anuran visual systems and highlights the usefulness of museum specimens, and importance of broad taxonomic sampling, for interpreting macroecological patterns.

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