Article 2318

Title of the article



Lada Georgiy Arkad'evich, Doctor of biological sciences, associate professor, professor at the sub-department of wildlife management and land management, Tambov State University named after G. R. Derzhavin (33 Internatsionalnaya street, Tambov, Russia), E-mail:
Pyatova Marina Viktorovna, Candidate of biological sciences, senior lecturer, sub-department of medical biology with a course of infectious diseases, Tambov State University named after G. R. Derzhavin (33 Internatsionalnaya street, Tambov, Russia),
Kholoburdina Evgeniya Yur'evna, Biology teacher, Lyceum № 28 named after N. A. Ryabov (1 Kuybysheva street, Tambov, Russian), E-mail:
Aksenov Denis Sergeevich, Laboratory assistant, the center of ecological and faunal studies, Tambov State University named after G. R. Derzhavin (33 Internatsionalnaya street, Tambov, Russia), E-mail: 

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Background. Central European green frogs (Pelophylax esculentus complex) are an excellent model for the study of hybridogenic speciation. One of the important research tasks is to identify the ecological differentiation of the complex species during the cohabitation. In the floodplain of the Khoper River within the Khopersky State Nature Reserve, all three species of the complex, lake frog Pelophylax ridibundus (Pallas, 1771), pool frog P. lessonae (Camerano, 1882) and edible frog P. esculentus (Linnaeus, 1758) meet with a fairly high number. In this regard, the aim of this study is to provide a comparative ecological description (including biotope distribution, peculiarities of feeding and helminthofauna) of three species of green frogs coexisting in a mixed REL-type population system.
Materials and methods. The material was obtained in 2006–2017 in the course of own field research in the lakes Bolshoe Goloe, Maloe Goloe and Ulyanovskoe, located in the vicinity of the Varvarino village (Novokhopersky district of the Voronezh region), in the territory of the Khopersky reserve. Standard methods of description of habitats and accounting for the numbers, methods of complete helminthological dissection and extraction of the bolus were used.
Results. The numbers of the lake frog is directly dependent on the relative area of the free water surface, the average height of the grass stand on the shore and the circumference of the reservoir by coastal water and semi-loaded water vegetation. On the contrary, the numbers of the pond frog negatively correlates with indicator “the relative area of the free water surface”. The numbers of edible frogs positively correlates with such indicators as the total projective cover of coastal-aquatic, floating, submerged aquatic and woody ground vegetation. In total, 29 species of helminthes (Trematoda – 20, Nematoda – 9) were noted in green frogs in the study area. The greatest species diversity (26 species) and high intensity of helminthes invasion were found in the lake frog. The species composition of helminthes of the pond frog is noticeably poorer in qualitative (19 species) and in quantitative terms. The smallest species diversity of helminthes (15 species) is characteristic of the edible frog, and the extent of its invasion of some helminthes is not always lower than that of the parent forms. The taxonomic composition of the food of the three species of green frog complex is mostly similar, but the quantitative ratio of many forage organisms in the diet is different. In the analysis of the habitat of frog victims, it was found that the main part of the diet consists of the middle-layer chortobionts, in second place – the upper-layer chortobionts (to a lesser extent in the pond frog). On the method of movement among the forage organisms walking-running forms are dominated, in second place – flying ones (except pond frog). Victims of frogs are mainly phytophagous and zoophagous, while parental species P. ridibundus and P. lessonae prefer especially of phytophages, and the hybrid P. esculentus – zoophagous.
Conclusions. The ecological differentiation of three species of green frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus, P. lessonae and P. esculentus), coexisting in the mixed population system of REL-type in the floodplain of the Khoper River in the vicinity of the Varvarino village, was revealed by the preferred biotopes and forages, as well as by the composition of helminthofauna. 

Key words

water frogs, Pelophylax esculentus complex, ecological differentiation, biotopes, helminth fauna, diet, Voronezh Province, Khopersky State Nature Reserve 


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