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Hearing and calls of the banana frog, Afrixalus fornasinii (Bianconi) (Anura: Rhacophoridae)

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During reproduction female Afrixalus fornasinii deposit 30-50 eggs on leaves which are folded around the egg masses by the males. The eggs are unpigmented and have a diameter of ca. 1.5 mm. The development from the larvae to young froglets lasts 10-12 weeks. A. fornasinii produces at least three types of calls. Type I is composed of 3-12 pulse groups. Type II consists of 13-113 pulses followed by a single pulse group, which concludes the call. Type III is a composite call, with 11-73 pulses like those in Type II followed by 3-11 pulse groups like those in Type I. The spectrum of the calls is noisy, with maximal sound energy at 2300-2400 Hz. When two males call in alternation, as often happens, the calls are first of Type II and later they change to Type III. The audible range of frequencies is the same for male and female A. fornasinii, extending from 100 Hz to nearly 6000 Hz. The neuronal thresholds measured in the torus semicircularis differed greatly, depending on the recording site. In the audiogram of A. fornasinii there are four sensitivity maxima: at 200 Hz, 450 Hz and 800 Hz in the range associated with the amphibian papilla, and 2800 Hz in the range associated with the basilar papilla. This tetramodality may indicate the presence of a fourth population of neurons in the auditory system of this species. The hearing of these animals is somewhat less sensitive than that of larger anurans, perhaps because A. fornasinii has fewer auditory sense cells. On the other hand, these frogs can detect higher frequencies than larger anurans do. Evidently the number of sense cells does not restrict the audible frequency range.

Affiliations: 1: Zoologisches Institut, Universität Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloß, D-5300 Bonn 1, Federal Republic of Germany


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