Female call preferences in tree-hole frogs: why are there so many unattractive males?

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Female call preferences in tree-hole frogs: why are there so many unattractive males? / Lardner, Björn; Lakim, M B.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 68, No. 2, 2004, p. 265-272.

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Lardner, Björn ; Lakim, M B. / Female call preferences in tree-hole frogs: why are there so many unattractive males?. In: Animal Behaviour. 2004 ; Vol. 68, No. 2. pp. 265-272.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Female call preferences in tree-hole frogs: why are there so many unattractive males?

AU - Lardner, Björn

AU - Lakim, M B

N1 - The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Animal Ecology (Closed 2011) (011012001)

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - In tree-hole frogs, Metaphrynella sundana, the fundamental call frequency varies widely between males. In field playback experiments, females strongly preferred calls from the lower range of frequencies found in the population. There was no correlation, however, between male size and call frequency, as is normally the case for anurans, so large males were not necessarily more attractive to females. Presence or absence of upper harmonics in the call had no effect on female choice. Tree holes with shallow air columns were more often used by calling frogs, and were presumably more common, than deep holes. Since male M. sundana actively exploit the resonant properties of tree holes for mate attraction, and high frequencies match comparatively shallow holes, the benefits of attaining acoustic matching probably select for high-frequency calls. In addition, males with high-frequency calls may be heard from a greater distance in the vicinity of torrent streams. Since the level of such noise in the forest varies in time and space, different frequencies may prove optimal in different contexts, thereby preserving the observed variation within the population. Having an 'unattractive' high-frequency call should be potentially beneficial only when calling males do not congregate, a condition that our data suggest is fulfilled in this system.

AB - In tree-hole frogs, Metaphrynella sundana, the fundamental call frequency varies widely between males. In field playback experiments, females strongly preferred calls from the lower range of frequencies found in the population. There was no correlation, however, between male size and call frequency, as is normally the case for anurans, so large males were not necessarily more attractive to females. Presence or absence of upper harmonics in the call had no effect on female choice. Tree holes with shallow air columns were more often used by calling frogs, and were presumably more common, than deep holes. Since male M. sundana actively exploit the resonant properties of tree holes for mate attraction, and high frequencies match comparatively shallow holes, the benefits of attaining acoustic matching probably select for high-frequency calls. In addition, males with high-frequency calls may be heard from a greater distance in the vicinity of torrent streams. Since the level of such noise in the forest varies in time and space, different frequencies may prove optimal in different contexts, thereby preserving the observed variation within the population. Having an 'unattractive' high-frequency call should be potentially beneficial only when calling males do not congregate, a condition that our data suggest is fulfilled in this system.

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2004.05.003

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2004.05.003

M3 - Article

VL - 68

SP - 265

EP - 272

JO - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

JF - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

SN - 1095-8282

IS - 2

ER -