Behaviour 2019
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Developments in Amphibian Parental Care Research: History, Present Advances and Future Perspectives
Jennifer L. Stynoski1,2, Lisa M. Schulte3, Eva Ringler4,5, Bibiana Rojas6. 1Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States; 2Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, , Costa Rica; 3Faculty of Biological Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, , Germany; 4Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, , Austria; 5Department of Integrative Zoology, University of Vienna, Vienna, , Austria; 6Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyväskylä, , Finland

Parental care is a prominent topic in animal behavior research, but it has not been as well studied in amphibians as in other taxa. The first reports of amphibian parental care are from the 18th century, of frog metamorphs emerging from maternal dorsal skin. Reports remained largely descriptive until the 1980s, when experimental approaches with amphibians fortified our understanding of the adaptive value of parental care. More recently, amphibians have become model systems for elucidating proximate mechanisms of parental care. In this review, we provide a visual synthesis of parental care research in the three amphibian orders based on over 700 reports. We identified over 30 types of parental care in amphibians, although most studies focus on few families and favor anurans over urodeles and caecilians. We highlight the importance of natural history observations as a source of new hypotheses and context to interpret experimental findings, and encourage diversification of study systems in amphibian parental care. Finally, we uncover knowledge gaps and suggest integrative approaches that will enrich our understanding of the function and evolution of parental behaviors in amphibians.