Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

The Effects of a Mixed Diet in Anuran Larvae

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

Anuran larvae (tadpoles) are often found to consume a range of foods. Previous studies in our lab have documented tadpoles of frogs in the family Hylidae as having a mixed diet consisting of detritus, invertebrates, and algae. Previous diet mixing studies on other species of ectotherms (e.g., turtles) have demonstrated that the nutritional benefit of certain food combinations can be greater than the sum of their parts. Upland Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) in the family Hylidae, are a wide ranging anuran species found throughout much of southern and western Kentucky. In an attempt to assess the impact on tadpoles of consuming a mixed versus a specific single diet, we examined the dietary effects of combinations of algal, detritus and shrimp diets to these foods as single-food diets in the larvae of P. triseriata. In feeding trials each of the aforementioned foods were presented in a “tadpole jello” individually and in combinations of each other to larvae. Various nutritional components of the diet were measured based on the fecal matter of the larval study groups. We analyzed energy content with bomb calorimetry, crude protein following Kjelldal’s technique, percent organic matter from ash-free dry weight, and various macrominerals (including: Ca, P, and Mg) with color spectro-photometry. Food passage rate were also measured both at the commencement and at the conclusion of the trials using fluorescent dye markers mixed into the jello. Ammonia levels were also monitored throughout the study to maintain optimal water quality.

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The Effects of a Mixed Diet in Anuran Larvae

Anuran larvae (tadpoles) are often found to consume a range of foods. Previous studies in our lab have documented tadpoles of frogs in the family Hylidae as having a mixed diet consisting of detritus, invertebrates, and algae. Previous diet mixing studies on other species of ectotherms (e.g., turtles) have demonstrated that the nutritional benefit of certain food combinations can be greater than the sum of their parts. Upland Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) in the family Hylidae, are a wide ranging anuran species found throughout much of southern and western Kentucky. In an attempt to assess the impact on tadpoles of consuming a mixed versus a specific single diet, we examined the dietary effects of combinations of algal, detritus and shrimp diets to these foods as single-food diets in the larvae of P. triseriata. In feeding trials each of the aforementioned foods were presented in a “tadpole jello” individually and in combinations of each other to larvae. Various nutritional components of the diet were measured based on the fecal matter of the larval study groups. We analyzed energy content with bomb calorimetry, crude protein following Kjelldal’s technique, percent organic matter from ash-free dry weight, and various macrominerals (including: Ca, P, and Mg) with color spectro-photometry. Food passage rate were also measured both at the commencement and at the conclusion of the trials using fluorescent dye markers mixed into the jello. Ammonia levels were also monitored throughout the study to maintain optimal water quality.