Energy substrate utilization during nightly vocal activity in three species of Scinax (Anura/Hylidae)
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Anuran amphibians exhibit different patterns of energy substrate utilization that correlate with the intensity of vocal and locomotor activities. Given the remarkable differences among species in breeding and feeding strategies, and the different ways energy is used in the whole animal, the suggested correlations between calling and locomotor behavior and the level of energy substrates in the muscles responsible for such activities are more complex than previously reported. We explored the relationships between calling and locomotor behavior and energy supply to trunk and hindlimb muscles, respectively, within the ecologically diverse tree-frog genus Scinax. Specifically, we measured the relative amount of carbohydrates and lipids in these two groups of muscles, and in the liver of three species of Scinax that differ in vocal and locomotor performance, and compared our results with those of two other species for which comparable data are available. We also compared the contents of lipids and carbohydrates of conspecific males collected at the beginning and after 4 h of calling activity. The stomach content to potential feeding opportunities across species was also assessed in both groups of males. Scinax hiemalis and S. rizibilis exhibit comparatively low and episodic calling during long periods of activity whereas S. crospedospilus calls at higher rates over shorter periods. Male S. hiemalis had highest levels of trunk muscle glycogen followed by those of S. rizilbilis and S. crospedospilus, respectively. There was no correlation between total lipid content in trunk muscle and calling rate among different species, suggesting that other metabolic aspects may be responsible for the energetic support for vocal activity. The levels of lipids and carbohydrates in trunk and hindlimb muscles and liver of males collected at the beginning and 4 h into the calling period were similar across species, so the extent of energetic reserves does not appear to constrain vocal or locomotor activity. Finally, we found exceptionally high levels of carbohydrates and lipids in the liver of S. rizibilis, a trait perhaps related to a long and demanding breeding period.