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The challenge of finding a high-quality male: a treefrog solution based on female assessment of male calls

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In the context of sexual selection through mate choice, it has recently been suggested that the effectiveness of intersexual communication is affected not only by the honesty of male sexual signals but also by the number of signal components simultaneously used to convey information. We investigated female use of acoustic components in the chorusing treefrog Hyla arborea using two-choice phonotaxis tests. Females showed a significant preference for higher call rates and calls of short duration, as well as for higher call amplitudes. They also favoured lower peak frequencies. Since this call characteristic was negatively correlated with body weight, such a preference should lead to their selecting larger males. Females also exhibited a marginal preference for longer call bouts. The reliability of the multiple call components involved in mate choice in H. arborea are discussed, as well as the validity of these results for mate choice in the natural context of a noisy anuran chorus.

Affiliations: 1: UMR-CNRS 5023, Laboratoire d'Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, Bât. Darwin C, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 43 Boulevard du 11 novembre 1918, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France

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