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Am Nat paper on Capensibufo published

20 December 2017

Our Capensibufo paper is published in Am Nat

This amazing paper came about during the Honours thesis of Francois Becker when he studied the 7 years of CMR data that we had accumulated on Capensibufo rosei. What Francois found astounded us all, that the survival of these toads was correlated extremely well with rainfall during the breeding period.

Here's the graph that we found so amazing. Survival probability varies between 0.04 and 0.92, and 94% of this variation was explained by variation in breeding-season rainfall. This result seemed completely counter-intuitive. Surely during a period with good rainfall we'd expect animals to do well? The answer we suspect is that they do so well, sitting out in the puddles during the wet weather, that they lose condition and don't make it through to breed the next year. Conversely, in a dry year, the animals don't spend long in their puddles and so go back to ground very early.

In this video clip, you can see some of the amazing scenes from mating behaviour of this species.

We now know that these animals are endemic to the Cape peninsula, but suspect that the other species all have similar life-histories. 

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