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Pipa pipa | Common Surinam Toad

Amphibian News Archive
Most research on parental care has focused on mammals and birds; however, increasingly amphibian parental care has been in the spotlight, and Schulte et al 2020 chronologically reviews 685 papers providing an opportunity to highlight early contributions and summarize the body of study on the evolution, ecology, and physiology as well as the conservation implications of amphibian parental care. Remarkably amphibian parental care studies go far back in time; the first known observation of amphibian parental care was made by Maria Sibylla Merian in 1705, who witnessed and drew an image of a Pipa pipa giving birth to froglets from her back. Their review is organized phylogenetically and by the various modes of parental care found in amphibian orders. The authors point out an unsurprising bias of frog-focused studies- much of the work done to date has focused on Neotropical poison frogs (dendrobatids and aromobatids)- but highlight parental care studies in caecilians and salamanders and emphasize the value of pursuing research on parental care in a diverse set of amphibian taxa. Finally, they provide their view of key future directions for the field, including the value of multi-disciplinary approaches and collaborations, the importance of integrating experiments of proximate mechanisms (i.e., physiological, endocrinological, spatial, genetic, behavorial, and ecological studies) into studies of evolution and adaptation, how parental behaviors impact amphibian declines, and the importance of continuing to understand the natural history of amphibian behavior.

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Current number of amphibian species: 8,228 (Sep 26, 2020) Newly added species