Genetic Evidence for Single Season Polygyny in the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)


Gregory A. Wilson, Tara L. Fulton, Kris Kendell, Danna M. Schock, Cynthia A. Paszkowski, and David W. Coltman


Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles 39(1): 46-50; 2008


A species’ mating system is an important life history characteristic that impacts many aspects of its ecology and evolution. Animal mating systems are differentiated by the number of mates each
gender has in a breeding season. Many temperate pond-breeding anurans display what is likely a polygynandrous mating system, which may vary with the operational sex ratio of a population
(Halliday and Tejedo 1995; Lode et al. 2004). There is genetic evidence for multiple paternity in some anuran amphibians, where eggs from a single mass are fertilized by more than one male
(D’Orgeix and Turner 1995; Laurila and Seppa 1998; Lode and Lesbarreres 2004; Roberts et al. 1999; Sztatecsny et al. 2006). However, the ability of males to fertilize eggs from more than one
female during a breeding season has not been demonstrated using genetic techniques. In the course of a larger study, we had the opportunity to look for this phenomenon in a population of Northern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens).