Nonbreeding habitats are critically important for Rana draytonii, especially for individuals that breed in temporary bodies of water. We radiotracked 123 frogs to evaluate seasonal habitat use. Individual frogs were continuously tracked for up to 16 months. Some individuals remained at breeding ponds all year, but 66% of female and 25% of male frogs moved to nonbreeding areas, even when the breeding site retained water. Frogs at our main study site moved 150 m (median), roughly the distance to the nearest suitable nonbreeding area. The greatest straight-line distance traveled was 1.4 km, although the presumed distance traveled was 2.8 km. Females were more likely than males to move from permanent ponds (38% of females, 16% of males), but among dispersing frogs, males and females did not differ in distance moved. Some frogs left breeding sites shortly after oviposition (median = 12 days for females, 42.5 days for males), but many individuals remained until the site was nearly dry. Fog provided moisture for dispersal or migration throughout the summer. Our data demonstrate that maintaining populations of pond-breeding amphibians requires that all essential habitat components be protected; these include (1) breeding habitat, (2) nonbreeding habitat, and (3) migration corridors. In addition, a buffer is needed around all three areas to ensure that outside activities do not degrade any of the three habitat components. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Additional publication details
California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) movement and habitat use: Implications for conservation