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Abstract

The ability to recognise and discriminate between heterospecific and conspecific individuals plays an essential role in mate choice, reproductive isolation and thus species diversification. Many animals discriminate based on advertisement calls, whose evolution may be driven by a variety of forces such as natural selection, sexual selection or stochastic processes. The relative importance of stochastic processes acting on a given trait is usually correlated with its phylogenetic signal. Mate-recognition signals are complex traits composed of multiple features that could potentially respond independently to evolutionary forces. The advertisement call of anurans is used in species recognition and mate choice. In this study, we estimate the phylogenetic signal for body size and a suite of traits describing the male advertisement call from dart-poison frogs (Anura: Dendrobatidae). We found a surprisingly high phylogenetic signal for all call traits. In addition, call traits varied in their degree of phylogenetic signal, suggesting that evolutionary forces have been acting differently on different traits. Pulse duration showed the strongest phylogenetic signal. Peak frequency and body size were correlated and presented high phylogenetic signal indicating that the evolution of one trait may be driving or constraining the other. Since most variation in call traits can be explained by the phylogenetic history of the species, we cannot reject the hypothesis that stochastic processes account for significant evolutionary divergence in frog calls.