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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of road traffic on two amphibian species of differing vagility

  • Author(s): Carr, Laurie W.
  • Fahrig, Lenore
  • et al.

Vehicular traffic can be a major source of mortality for some species. Highly uagile organisms may be at a disadvantage in landscapes with roads because they are more likely to encounter roads and incur traffic mortality. To test this prediction, we assessed the population abundance of two anuran species of differing vagility, the leopard frog (Rana pipiens more vaglie) and the green frog (Rana clamitans, less vagile), at30 breeding ponds. Traffic density, an index of the amount of potential traffic mortality, was measured in concentric circles radiating from the ponds out to 5 km. We conducted multiple linear regressions relating population abundance to traffic density, pond variables, and landscape habitat variables and found that leopard frog population density was negatively affected by traffic density within a radius of 1.5km. There was no evidence that the presence of vehicular traffic affected green frog populations, these results suggest that traffic mortality can cause population declines and that more vagile species may be more vulnerable to road mortality than less vagile species.

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