Differential effects of temperature on the feeding kinematics of the tadpoles of two sympatric anuran species

J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2015 Aug;323(7):456-65. doi: 10.1002/jez.1941. Epub 2015 Jun 7.


Temperature impacts ectotherm performance by influencing many biochemical and physiological processes. When well adapted to their environment, ectotherms should perform most efficiently at the temperatures they most commonly encounter. In the present study, we tested how differences in temperature affects the feeding kinematics of tadpoles of two anuran species: the benthic tadpole of Rhinella schneideri and the nektonic tadpole of Trachycephalus typhonius. Benthic and nektonic tadpoles have segregated distributions within ponds and thus tend to face different environmental conditions, such as temperature. Muscle contractile dynamics, and thus whole organism performance, is primarily temperature dependent for ectotherms. We hypothesized that changes in mean temperatures would have differential effects on the feeding kinematics of these two species. We conducted a laboratory experiment in which we used high-speed videography to record tadpoles foraging at cold and warm temperatures. In general, tadpoles filmed at warm temperatures opened their jaws faster, attained maximum gape earlier, and exhibited shorter gape cycles than tadpoles in cold temperatures, irrespective of species. We also found species x temperature interactions regarding the closing phase velocity, and the percentage of time it takes tadpoles to achieve maximum gape and to start closing their jaws. These interactions could indicate that these two co-occurring species differ in their sensitivity to differences in water temperature and have temperature-dependent feeding strategies that maximize feeding performance in their preferred environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ecosystem
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Larva / physiology
  • Mouth
  • Species Specificity
  • Temperature*
  • Video Recording