Lea, Jerry; Dyson, Mandy and Halliday, Timothy
Phonotaxis to advertisement calls by midwife toads (Alytes muletensis) is not necessarily related to mating.
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Previous studies with the Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) found that gravid females show inconsistent phonotactic preferences for male calls unless they are highly motivated to mate; and, non-gravid females will occasionally show phonotaxis to male advertisement calls. These results suggest that sometimes phonotaxis may not be related to seeking a mating partner. In this article we report on experiments that give further support to a non-mating function of phonotaxis in this species. Males and metamorphs were played conspecific male and female advertisement calls. Males that were expected to be unmotivated to mate were not less likely to respond to, or less consistent in their choice of, female calls than males who were expected to be motivated to mate. Metamorphs who were not yet in breeding condition nevertheless showed positive phonotaxis. We suggest that Mallorcan midwife toads may sometimes show phonotaxis simply to seek out refuges where toads aggregate.
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