Effects of temperature on embryonic and larval development and growth in the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in a semi–arid zone
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Effects of temperature on embryonic and larval development and growth in the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in a semi–arid zone.— Temperature affects the duration of embryonic and larval periods in amphibians. Plasticity in time to metamorphosis is especially important in amphibian populations of Mediterranean
semi–arid zones where temperatures are high and precipitation is low, increasing the rate of pond desiccation. In order to test the influence of water temperature on the larval development and growth of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), we collected two spawns in a semi–arid zone at Balaguer (Lleida, NE Iberian peninsula). Approximately 50 (± 10) eggs (stage 14–16) were raised in the lab at different temperature conditions: 10, 15, 20, 22.5 and 25ºC with 12:12 photoperiod. The results show a lengthening of development time with decreasing temperatures and a better survival performance of B. calamita to high temperatures. However, mean size at metamorphosis was not different across treatments, thus, suggesting that this population of B. calamita requires a minimum size to complete the metamorphosis. This study is the first approach to examine the effects that climatic factors have on the growth and development of B. calamita in semi–arid zones.