Changes in the frequency structure of a mating call decrease its attractiveness to females in the cricket frog Acris crepitans blanchardi

K. Witte et al., Changes in the frequency structure of a mating call decrease its attractiveness to females in the cricket frog Acris crepitans blanchardi, ETHOLOGY, 107(8), 2001, pp. 685-699
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ISSN journal
0179-1613 → ACNP
Year of publication
685 - 699
SICI code
In many species, females often prefer male signals that are more complex th an in nature or beyond the range of calls naturally produced by conspecific males in spectral, temporal and amplitude features. In this study we exami ned both (he ability of females to recognize signals outside the normal ran ge of spectral frequency variation seen in male advertisement calls, and th e influence of increasing call complexity by adding spectral components to enhance the attractiveness of a male advertisement call in the cricket frog Acris crepitans blanchardi, while keeping its amplitude constant. We used two different natural male call groups and created the following synthetic call groups: with a dominant frequency at 3500 Hz, i.e. at the normal domin ant frequency with a frequency band within the sensitivity range of the inn er ear basilar papilla; with a dominant frequency at 700 Hz, i.e. outside t he normal range of variation and with a frequency band outside the sensitiv ity range of the basilar papilla but within the range of the amphibian papi lla; with two dominant frequencies, one at 700 Hz and another at 3500 Hz, s timulating the basilar and amphibian papilla simultaneously. In double choi ce experiments we tested all combinations of the three call groups, and we tested the 3500 Hz call groups against the same natural call groups. Additi onally, we tested the 700 Hz call groups against white noise to see whether these signals are meaningful in mate choice. Females preferred 3500 Hz cal l groups over all other call groups. The synthetic call group was as attrac tive to females as the same natural call group. The 700 Hz call group was n ot meaningful in mate choice. The combined (700 Hz + 3500 Hz) call group wa s significantly less attractive to females than the 3500 Hz call group. Thu s, making a call more spectrally complex without increasing its overall amp litude decreases its attractiveness to cricket frog females.