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The Significance of Persistent Vocalisation By the Spring Peeper, Pseudacris Crucifer (Anura: Hylidae)

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1. Male spring peepers exhibit individual variation in calling persistence within as well as between nights. 2. Weather conditions influence nightly variation in calling persistence throughout the reproductive season, but there is a pronounced decrease in calling persistence late in the season which appears to be independent of climate. 3. In four speaker experiments simulating males calling 20, 40, 60, and 80% of the time, there is a positive correlation between time spent calling and mating success. 4. On nights when there is significant variation in calling persistence, females likely respond to those males which are most persistent (i.e. , produce the most conspicuous calls). 5. In four speaker experiments simulating males calling 80, 85, 90 and 95% of the time, mating success is random, suggesting that during periods of peak mating activity the importance of female choice is diminished. 6. Calling persistence is not correlated with body size, therefore males of any age or size class have an opportunity to experience mating success. 7. Anuran vocalization is known to be energetically expensive, and persistent callers (regardless of their size) are likely in good physical condition. 8. We suggest that by responding (either actively or passively) to the most conspicuous calls, females convey to their offspring an advantage above and beyond that accrued by random mating.

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


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