Enhanced call effort in Japanese tree frogs infected by amphibian chytrid fungus

Biol Lett. 2016 Mar;12(3):20160018. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0018.


Some amphibians have evolved resistance to the devastating disease chytridiomycosis, associated with global population declines, but immune defences can be costly. We recorded advertisement calls of male Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) in the field. We then assessed whether individuals were infected by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the causal agent of the disease. This allowed us to analyse call properties of males as a function of their infection status. Infected males called more rapidly and produced longer calls than uninfected males. This enhanced call effort may reflect pathogen manipulation of host behaviour to foster disease transmission. Alternatively, increased calling may have resulted from selection on infected males to reproduce earlier because of their shortened expected lifespan. Our results raise the possibility that sublethal effects of Bd alter amphibian life histories, which contributes to long-term population declines.

Keywords: amphibians; bioacoustics; chytridiomycosis; host–pathogen interactions; life history; mate choice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chytridiomycota / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Mycoses / physiopathology
  • Mycoses / veterinary*
  • Ranidae / microbiology
  • Ranidae / physiology*
  • Vocalization, Animal*

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.FP573