Acoustic Competition in Physalaemus pustulosus, a Differential Response to Calls of Relative Frequency

Authors

  • J. Bosch,

    1. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa and Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin
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  • A. S. Rand,

    1. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa and Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin
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  • M. J. Ryan

    1. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa and Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin
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Corresponding author: J. Bosch, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC. José Gutierrez Abascal, 2. 28006 Madrid, Spain. E-mail: bosch@mncn.csic.es

Abstract

The response of the male túngara frog (Physalaemus pustulosus) to conspecific whines of different frequencies was examined. In the first series of playback experiments (fixed frequency), three types of synthetic stimuli were used, corresponding to calls of high frequency (HFF; x + 2 SD), mid-frequency (MFF; x), and low frequency (LFF; x− 2 SD) for the study population. In the second series of interactive playback experiments (relative frequency), whines of frequency relative to that of the male subject were used: male frequency + 2 SD (HRF), male frequency (MRF), and male frequency −2 SD (LRF). In the fixed frequency experiments, male vocal response did not vary among treatments. However, in the relative frequency experiments, males responded with more whines, and above all, with more chucks, to stimuli of similar or higher frequency than to stimuli of lower frequency than their own. In other words, male vocal competition escalates when competitors have whines with similar or relatively higher frequencies to their own, but does not increase when competitors have call frequencies that are at the mean or higher for the population. This differential response might result from competition between males of different sizes, since the frequency of the whine and male size is significantly correlated.

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