Male Calling Behavior and Female Choice in the Neotropical Treefrog Hyla microcephala


Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, U-43, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06268, U.S.A.


The effect of stimulus call complexity and calling rate on the vocal responses of males and female mate choice was studied in Hyla microcephala in Panama. Males increased the number of notes in their calls in response to increases in stimulus call complexity during both playback of 1 to 8-note advertisement calls and during natural interactions. However, precise matching of the number of notes in stimuli and responses did not occur consistently. Males also increased calling rates if stimuli were presented above prestimulus rates. Two-stimulus choice experiments demonstrated that females prefer both higher calling rates and greater call complexity, indicating that the ways males change their vocal behavior during interactions increases their attractiveness to potential mates. Tests in which the relative intensity of a high and low rate stimulus was varied indicated that females prefer stimuli with higher total sound energy. In a natural chorus, it is likely that females simply approach males giving the most conspicuous calls.