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Open Access Research article

Supplementary feeding affects the breeding behaviour of male European treefrogs (Hyla arborea)

Ivonne Meuche1* and T Ulmar Grafe12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Biozentrum, University of Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

2 Department of Biology, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Tungku Link, Gadong BE 1410, Brunei Darussalam

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BMC Ecology 2009, 9:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-9-1

Published: 7 January 2009



We investigated the effects of energetic constraints on the breeding behaviour of male European treefrogs Hyla arborea and how calling males allocated additional energy supplied by feeding experiments.


Presence in the chorus was energetically costly indicated by both fed and unfed males losing weight. Males that were supplied with additional energy did not show longer chorus tenure. Instead, fed males returned sooner to the chorus. Additionally, fed males called more often than control males, a novel response for anurans. A significantly higher calling rate was noted from males even 31 nights after supplementary feeding.


This strategy of allocating additional energy reserves to increasing calling rate is beneficial given the preference of female hylids for males calling at high rates and a female's ability to detect small incremental increases in calling rate.