Preference-performance theory predicts that females should select breeding sites that maximize offspring performance. Amphibians have been a model system for investigating habitat selection, yet most studies have focused on habitat selection in response to predators and conspecifics. We investigated female oviposition site selection and larval performance in eastern gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) among pools with and without one of two ecologically distinct heterospecific larvae, the green frog (Rana clamitans) and the American bullfrog (R. catesbeiana). Pools without heterospecifics were used on more nights and had more eggs deposited compared to pools with heterospecifics. In a competition experiment, treefrog larval performance matched this female preference: tadpoles developed faster and grew larger in the absence of either heterospecific. Although we hypothesized that bullfrogs would more strongly affect female treefrog preference and offspring performance because of previous work demonstrating that bullfrogs have stronger negative effects on other tadpoles, both heterospecifics elicited similar responses. The effects of heterospecifics on anuran breeding site selection are understudied and not well understood, and our results demonstrate that female selection of breeding sites is an adaptive behavior for offspring in the presence of heterospecific competitors.

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