Many studies suggest that edaphic variables are major determinants of frog distributions. However, leaf-litter depth and soil characteristics are influenced by distance from streams, so the apparent relationship between edaphic characteristics and species distributions could be an artefact of the dependence of species on free water for reproduction. Therefore, we investigated the effect of edaphic variables on the mesoscale distribution of frog species not dependent on free water for reproduction. We evaluated the effects of soil texture, pH, slope, number of trees and leaf-litter volume on the distribution of nine terrestrially reproducing anuran species in the Reserva Ducke, a 100-km2 terra firme forest preserve in central Amazonia. Diurnal and nocturnal assemblages of anuran species were sampled in 72 plots systematically distributed across the reserve. We sampled the diurnal anuran assemblage by visual encounter in 250 × 1-m plots and the nocturnal assemblage in 250 × 20-m plots using both auditory and visual surveys. The majority of terrestrially breeding anuran species were influenced by topographic and/or edaphic variables, such as slope, soil clay content and pH. However, responses to environmental predictors differed among species. Most species occurred throughout all environmental gradients and relationships with soil characteristics were subtle, indicating that these species occur in the majority of habitats in Reserva Ducke. The results of this study indicate that terrestrially breeding frogs are habitat generalists that show little mesoscale beta diversity associated with habitat variation.
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