Patterns of Vocal Interactions in a Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Chorus: Preferential Responding to Far Neighbors

Authors

  • Su L. Boatright-Horowitz,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston and Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence
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  • Seth S. Horowitz,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston and Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence
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  • Andrea M. Simmons

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston and Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence
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Corresponding author: A. M. Simmons, Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience, Brown University, Box 1853, Providence RI 02912, USA. E-mail: Andrea_Simmons@brown.edu

Abstract

In chorusing species, males seem to be spaced non-randomly, and their vocal interactions may be governed by particular behavioral rules. We monitored patterns of vocal interactions in a natural bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) chorus to determine the probability with which calls of individual frogs would follow each other's in dyadic sequences. Expected probabilities of responses in a dyad were calculated based upon the joint probabilities of calling (relative calling rates) of the individual frogs; observed probabilities of response reflected the actual number of following responses in each dyad. Results of statistical tests comparing observed and expected probabilities of responding revealed that, when dyads were closely spaced, observed probabilities of a following response were significantly less than the expected probabilities. Conversely, when dyads were composed of more distant males, observed probabilities of responding were significantly greater than expected. Observed probabilities of response were correlated with inter-male distances; males called more frequently than expected following calls of far neighbors, and less frequently than expected following calls of near neighbors. These data suggest that males attend to both nearby and distant callers, and adjust the onset of their own vocalizations appropriately. Males may be actively inhibited by calls of their near neighbors, and their calling may be actively elicited by the calls of their far neighbors.

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