The effect of changes in the relative timing of signals during phonotaxis of the reed frog, Hyperolius marmoratus

Dyson, Miranda L.; Henzi, S. Peter and Passmore, Neville I. (1994). The effect of changes in the relative timing of signals during phonotaxis of the reed frog, Hyperolius marmoratus. Animal Behaviour, 48(3) pp. 679–685.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1994.1287

Abstract

In anurans the properties of individual males' calls can change markedly during a single bout of calling. Females will therefore be confronted with an array of signals that change in relative attractiveness over time and, consequently, may be stimulated to approach several males before initiating amplexus. This would increase the time spent in the chorus and therefore, the costs associated with finding a mate. These costs may be minimized if, at some point of 'decision', a female's response to a male becomes irreversible, such that any subsequent changes in dynamic call features are ignored. To test this females were presented with two identical calls in a leader-follower call pattern and then the timing of the calls after the initiation of a response to the preferred leader was switched. If call timing was switched when females were within 2 m of the leader, they changed course and tracked the source of the leading call. However, when calls were switched when females were 2 m away, only some females changed course. A second experiment tested whether females 'lock into' static features such as dominant frequency. When a high frequency leading call was switched to a follower and a low frequency call to a leader, females tracked the source of the leading call, disregarding call frequency. The tendency was weaker when a high frequency follower was switched to a leader. The idea that the initiation of a response to a male renders females less responsive to more attractive calls that may arise is not supported.

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