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Old 02-25-2012, 08:23 PM
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Default Female imitator aggression?

Greetings,

I am a brand new member of Dendroboard but have been keeping and studying poison frogs for a few years. I've been perusing through posts and finding observations of female-female aggression in imitator. I'm interested in this because I am studying biparental care and monogamy in R. imitator for my master's thesis.

Here's a bit more on my research if you're interested:
Summers lab - James Tumulty

Anyway, I have observed lots of male-male aggression in the field (My field work was in Chazuta, Peru), but never any female-female aggression. Males are highly territorial, but I have no reason to think that females are. However, seeing people post here about female-female aggression indicates that they might be territorial as well, or possibly the aggression serves as mate-guarding (a female fights off other females to keep their male to themselves).

It would be a big help to me if anyone who has kept female imitator together could tell me, 1) if you have observed female-female aggression, and 2) does it appear to be mate-guarding (do the females wrestle when there is a male present/calling)?

Any observations would be useful, thanks!

James
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

Also, sorry if this post seems redundant, as there's a very recent thread about imitator aggression. I'm just curious about aggression between two frogs who are actually known to be females.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:59 AM
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Hey James, I've got a trio of Baja Huallaga Imis. The females are aggressive, but I have not witnessed any wrestling. Mostly one of the females will chase the other away especially when they are in breeding mode.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

I've tried 1.2 trios of 'Varadero' and 'Chazuta' imitator and neither really worked out well. There wasn't much in the way of physical contact and fighting, but the weaker female will become skinny and hide all the time. It mostly just seems to be selective pressure.

I'd like to try a 2.2 group sometime and see if different territories were established by male and how that would effect the females. I think it could work out with even sex numbers, as it does with other Ranitomeya.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

I've personally witnessed very brutal female on female aggression to where there was zero production as a result. I keep a lot of imi's and usually 1.2 groups work best for me however in this particular case the two females would go crazy on one another. Once I removed the female breeding started immediately. I'm a bio student also so if you have anymore questions about this shoot me a pm.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

Females are definitely aggressive to one another. I don't know that they're territorial per se, but definitely aggressive. It occurs in group situations, but it's especially prevalent in trio situations. I suspect at least a part of it may be mate protection. If this behavior doesn't occur in the wild it may also simply be attributed to keeping too many animals in a confined space.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

Interesting, thanks for the input everyone. Female aggression seems to be pretty common then, and based on what you guys have said seems to serve the purpose of mate guarding (esp. in 1.2 ratios). It could be a result of having them close together, certainly, but just because I haven't seen it in the wild doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Male aggression is just more obvious because males will call during territorial disputes.

Also, a 2.2 ratio could theoretically work but I would think it'd have to be a very large terrarium. Another researcher I know did a study on imitator and found that their home ranges are typically about 10 meters squared. They could probably tolerate small territories if they need to, but I would think that in even the biggest terrariums, the males wouldn't be too happy with each other.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scusemelittleoldlady View Post
Interesting, thanks for the input everyone. Female aggression seems to be pretty common then, and based on what you guys have said seems to serve the purpose of mate guarding (esp. in 1.2 ratios). It could be a result of having them close together, certainly, but just because I haven't seen it in the wild doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Male aggression is just more obvious because males will call during territorial disputes.

Also, a 2.2 ratio could theoretically work but I would think it'd have to be a very large terrarium. Another researcher I know did a study on imitator and found that their home ranges are typically about 10 meters squared. They could probably tolerate small territories if they need to, but I would think that in even the biggest terrariums, the males wouldn't be too happy with each other.

I have a 36x18x36 Viv. Until about 3 weeks ago I had upwards of 16 imitators in it with no issues other than an occassional male wrestling match (3 years). It may be quite possible due to the number of frogs not allowing them to astablish territories. Recently though I added a MistKing system. This triggered and extreme breading response in my dominant females and males. I have 12 frogs currently and I will be moving all of them out except 3. My 2 largest females are literaly attacking and pinning down any other frog the tries to climb to the top of the tank other than the one, now most dominant, male that they have chosen to breed with. The two females have split the tank in half and stay on their own side of the tank for the most part. For the longest time I thought I had a colony of imitators that would last, guess it just took the right conditions for them to act the way they would in the wild.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

Male aggression seems ubiquitous in this species, even when no females are present males are highly territorial and aggressive. But female aggression seems to only occur when a male is present and calling (i.e. mate guarding).
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

I have 2 female varaderos living quite peacefully together in a tank, they even chill in the same bromeliad together. But I'm sure as soon as I throw a male in, they won't be friends anymore.

Thanks for the insights everyone!
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

great topic for your thesis. Interesting posts below. I cannot imagine I'm the only one to see this, but I witnessed my female R. imitator intermedius wrestling alone - no male presence. I acquired the two females at about 6 months of age, my only imitators. They seemed to spend alot of time near one another, no aggression, then after a few months I witnessed them hardcore wrestling. I separated the frogs after that.

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Old 02-21-2015, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Female imitator aggression?

I used to have a 2.1 trio of Varaderos. I noticed some territorial behavior from the males (the non-dominant male was skinnier and hid most of the time and never called). I introduced a second female to the mix which completely eliminated the male-male territorial behavior. Both males are now highly visible and can be heard calling daily. My females have never demonstrated aggression. In fact, I think that they have both assisted in rearing a froglet that I left in the tank (because I didn't know it was in there until it emerged) as both females moved into the same bromeliad from where the froglet emerged and both stopped laying fertile eggs during the three months when the froglet would have been a tadpole.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:30 PM
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I've seen female/female aggression with my chazutas. The dom female would chase the sub female away from her mate and laying areas. However when it came to feeding time, I never saw aggression and the sub female was always very plump. This was before my favorite female (the dom) hopped out of the tank without me seeing her do it so now the sub female is paired up with the male and all is good. So yes it does happen!
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