Behavioural defences of anurans: an overview
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Among vertebrates, defensive behaviours have been reviewed for fishes, salamanders, reptiles, birds, and mammals, but not yet for anuran amphibians. Although several defensive strategies have been reported for anurans, with a few exceptions these reports are limited in scope and scattered in the literature. This fact may be due to the lack of a comprehensive review on the defensive strategies of anurans, which could offer a basis for further studies and insights on the basic mechanisms that underlie these strategies, and thus lead to theoretical assumptions of their efficacy and evolution. Here we review the present knowledge on defensive behavioural tactics employed by anurans, add new data on already reported behaviours, describe new behaviours, and speculate about their origins. A total of 30 defensive behaviours (some with a few sub-categories) are here recognised. The terminology already adopted is here organised and some neologies are proposed. Some of the behaviours here treated seem to have an independent origin, whereas others could have evolved from pre-existent physiological and behavioural features. The role of predators in the evolution of defensive behaviours is still scarcely touched upon and this overview adds data to explore this and other evolutionary unsolved questions.