Functional necrophilia: a profitable anuran reproductive strategy?
Explosive breeding is a common reproductive strategy, especially in anurans. In some cases of explosive breeding in anurans, intense aggressive interactions occur among males attempting to gain access to females, and for terrestrial species that mate in water, females may die by drowning during long mating struggles. Such occurrences are obviously detrimental to females, and may also cause a decrease in the reproductive success of males through depletion of energy without obtaining access to a live female. However, the males of the small Amazonian frog Rhinella proboscidea can promote the ejection of oocytes from the abdominal cavities of dead females and fertilize them. This behaviour can minimize losses to both partners during explosive reproduction events. The existence of such a ?functional necrophile strategy? shows that there may be possible selection in favour of stronger and more persistent males in explosive breeders.