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Seasonality in terai tree frog (Polypedates teraiensis): Role of light and temperature in regulation of seasonal breeding

Borah, Bijoy Krishna, Renthlei, Zothanmawii, Trivedi, Amit Kumar
Journal of photochemistry and photobiology 2019 v.191 pp. 44-51
Hylidae, Polypedates, additive effect, adults, ambient temperature, biochemical pathways, body weight, breeding, conservation programs, females, frogs, laboratory experimentation, light intensity, males, photoperiod, rain, solar radiation, spring, summer, testes
Seasonality is represented as an initiation-termination-reinitiation of any physiological processes. Photoperiod is the most predictable environmental cue which organism use to time their daily physiology and seasonal functions. In natural light environmental conditions, day and night components change in terms of duration, intensity and spectrum of light available. In many vertebrate species, daytime light intensity and spectrum of light play a critical role in gonadal recrudescence-regression cycle. In tropical conditions, many amphibian species show a clear relationship between reproduction and seasonal distribution of rainfall. In temperate conditions, reproduction is usually centered during spring and summer seasons when environmental conditions are favorable. Poikilotherms are highly sensitive to change in environmental temperature and their physiology and metabolic activities depend on environmental temperature. How environmental factors (light and temperature) influence, the reproduction of terai tree frog (Polypedates teraiensis) is not known. We hypothesized that light acts as a proximate factor but the temperature is the ultimate factor for reproduction of terai tree frog. Three experiments were performed. In experiment one, we studied the annual reproductive cycle under natural environmental conditions. Beginning from the month of March till October 2016, we procured adult frogs (male and female) in the middle of each month. Monthly observations were recorded for body weight and gonadal weight and GSI was calculated. We found the annual change in body mass, gonadal weight and GSI in both male and female with high gonadal weight and GSI values from March to June. These results suggest that terai tree frog is seasonal breeders, and their breeding corresponds with long days. In experiment two we addressed the effects of light duration, light intensity and light spectrum on gonadal growth regression cycle. We observed that long days promote gonadal growth regression cycle. However, after achieving critical daylength there is no additive effect of light duration. Further, light intensity and spectrum have limited role in gonadal growth regression cycle of this species. In experiment three we tested the role of temperature on body weight and testicular growth under stimulatory photoperiod (12 L:12D). Group one was exposed to high temperature (34 ± 2 °C), while group two was exposed to low temperature (22 ± 2 °C). We found that low temperature promotes testicular recrudescence under laboratory conditions. Altogether our study suggests both photoperiod and temperature are involved in the regulation of seasonal breeding in tree frog. Findings from the above study could be used for captive breeding of amphibians and may be helpful in amphibian conservation programmes.