Choosing the safest route: frog orientation in an agricultural landscape

M.J. Mazerolle, C.C. Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Orientation is a key component to successful movements between habitats. We hypothesized that barren agricultural landscapes hinder the ability of frogs to orient and move between habitats. Specifically, we predicted that when presented with a choice between a short route through a hostile environment and a longer but safer route, individuals would select the one that entails the least risk. During a field experiment, we translocated 104 Edible Frogs (Rana klepton esculenta) into a recently harrowed field according to two treatments: the distance to their pond of origin (5-70 m) and the distance to a wooded hedgerow (10-60 m). The frogs' ability to orient toward the pond decreased with pond distance and increased with distance to the hedgerow, but we did not detect interactive effects. In addition, frogs were more successful in orienting toward the pond under high wind conditions. We have shown that both the configuration of the landscape and weather variables influence the movement behavior of amphibians in agricultural settings, and these may have important implications for population persistence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-441
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • level perceptual abilities
  • white-footed mice
  • metapopulation dynamics
  • taricha rivularis
  • habitat patches
  • rana-lessonae
  • amphibians
  • resistance
  • dispersal
  • movements

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