Oviposition site selection by breeding amphibians determines larval habitat for their offspring. Many amphibians breed in temporary ponds, which vary in hydroperiod and levels of competition, predation, and resource abundance. Newly filled ponds have fewer competitors and predators and more periphyton and phytoplankton, which are more palatable food sources for anuran larvae. We tested for oviposition site preference between old and new water pools in Hyla chrysoscelis, a species known to have better larval performance in newly filled pools. Consistent with larval performance and the observation that anurans often breed in ponds immediately after they fill, H. chrysoscelis selectively oviposited in new pools. Conductivity was significantly lower and dissolved oxygen significantly higher in new versus old pools, and these may be cues of pond age and productivity, respectively. We demonstrate that adult oviposition site selection preferences in our study match larval performance differences seen in previous work and that this preference is not simply for newly filled ponds but for ponds with a recent influx of water. These results further suggest novel ways for land managers to increase amphibian populations. Draining ponds will increase their attractiveness to breeding females who simultaneously avoid fish and choose new water.
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Vol. 51 • No. 2