Acoustic Competition in Male Midwife Toads Alytes obstetricans and Alytes cisternasii: Response to Neighbor Size and Calling Rate. Implications for Female Choice


Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (C.S.I.C), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.


Effects of neighbor on male calling behavior was studied through playback experiments of synthetic calls to males of two species of midwife toads. The responses of resident males were scored considering two temporal parameters (call duration and calling rate) and one spectral parameter (dominant frequency). The sounds used for the playback tests included two levels of fundamental frequency (correlated with male size) and two levels of call repetition rate. In both species, resident males only changed their calling rate in the presence of an intruder, and the response was different for synthetic calls with two levels of dominant frequencies and with two calling rates. Resident size was not significantly correlated with the magnitude of the change in the calling rate. On the other hand, resident calling rate was significantly and positively correlated with the magnitude of the increase in calling rate of the stimulus. The maximum relative increase in calling rate was observed in A. cisternasii. In phonotaxis tests, females are preferentially attracted to calls emitted at a higher rate confirming the importance of changes in calling rate for female attraction.