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The Significance of Antiphonal Vocalisation By the Spring Peeper, Pseudacris Crucifer (Amphibia, Anura)

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1. Male spring peepers respond to acoustic interference from an encroaching conspecific with a graded behavioral sequence: they increase their call repetition rate, they emit one or more encounter calls, they entrain their calls to those of the intruder. 2. Once entrained, males continue to call synchronously for extended periods. 3. The time interval between the end of the leader's call and the beginning of the follower's call (the intraduet interval) is consistent, and is maintained despite changes in the duration or repetition rate of the leader's call. 4. Our data corroborate earlier investigators who concluded that the follower is stimulated by the onset of the leader's call, but is inhibited from calling until a fixed time interval after the leader has ceased calling. 5. Controlled discrimination tests reveal no differential mating success by the leader or the follower within a simulated duet. 6. Females exhibited a significant preference for a duet over a soloing male. 7. Although test females were able distinguish between the simultaneous broadcast of two phase-locked call sequences differing only in frequency, they did so in the absence of alternative, uncovered calls. 8. We conclude that antiphonal vocalisation functions primarily to reduce the potential for broadcast interference during the initial phase of female phonotaxis.

Affiliations: 1: Biological Sciences/Institute of Animal Behavior, Towson State University, Towson, Maryland U.S.A. 21204


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