Studies on frogs exploiting subterranean environments are extremely scarce, as these Amphibians are usually considered accidental in these environments. However, according to recent studies, some anurans actively select subterranean environments on the basis of specific environmental features, and thus are able to inhabit these environments throughout the year. We present the first study on the abundance and spatial use of the Italian stream frog, Rana italica, in subterranean environments. We monthly collected data from 66 cave sectors during a whole year (2013), recording > 120 detections of R. italica. Frogs were more frequently found close to the cave entrance, without significant differences between age classes or sexes. Adults generally were observed being higher up along cave walls compared to juveniles. Frogs abundance was higher in areas showing specific environmental features, such as warm temperature, low incident light and the presence of potential prey. Rana italica likely occupies subterranean areas characterized by a combination of microclimatic suitability and prey availability.
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