Body temperature, size, nuptial colouration and mating success in male Moor Frogs (Rana arvalis)

Attila Hettyey, Gábor Herczeg, Anssi Laurila, Pierre André Crochet, Juha Merilä

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Variation in colouration has rarely been related to sexual selection in anuran amphibians, even though such a relationship has been proven for many other vertebrate taxa. Male and female Moor Frogs (Rana arvalis) have a cryptic brown colour pattern, but males develop a conspicuous blue nuptial colouration during the reproductive season. To investigate the possibility that colouration plays a role in sexual selection in this species, we studied the temporal variation in blue colouration, determined if body size or body temperature affected blueness and investigated if blueness of males could be related to their mating success. Results confirmed previous observations that males develop and maintain blue colouration for only a very few nights during peak reproductive activity. Colouration of males was unrelated to body size, but males exhibiting higher body temperatures were somewhat bluer than males with lower body temperatures. Further, males in amplexus had higher body temperatures than non-mated males. Finally, mating success was positively related to blueness in small males, whereas in large males no such relationship was detected. While our results align with the hypothesis that the bright blue colouration of males may be a target of sexual selection, alternative explanations are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalAmphibia Reptilia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2009



  • Male-male competition
  • Mate choice
  • Natural history
  • Reproduction
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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