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Abstract

Inter-male spacing and the role of aggression in the maintenance of spatial organization was examined in choruses of Hyperolius marmoratus males housed in a semi-natural enclosure. The effects of chorus size on spacing patterns, nearest neighbour distances and male aggressive behaviour were examined. Males were found to reduce nearest neighbour distances as chorus size increased. This was accompanied by a shift in spacing pattern from even in small choruses (5–9 males) to random in choruses of 10 to 13 males. In choruses of 14, spacing patterns were once again even. The reason for these shifts is unclear but may reflect a sudden, rather than gradual increased tolerance by individuals to high neighbour call intensity as space to call from becomes more limited. The level of male aggression was influenced by chorus size and the time of night. In general, more aggressive interactions occurred in high density choruses. However, this did not translate into higher levels of individual male aggression as density increased. Individual male aggression was high in early evening choruses and declined to a minimum at peak chorusing time. High levels of aggression during early evening may reflect the establishment of calling sites by males, while the drop in aggression at peak chorusing time may occur in response to the presence of females in the chorus at this time or as a consequence of masking of neighbours calls.