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Sexual Selection in an African Toad (Bufo Gutteralis): the Roles of Morphology, Amplexus Displacement and Chorus Participation

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Males employed two reproductive tactics: amplexus displacement and vocal advertisement. Outcomes of amplexus displacement attempts could be predicted from body sizes of competing males alone. Mating was non-random and size-selective, but not sizeassortative. There was no evidence of female choice based on male body size. Male mating success and body size were positively correlated, although the relationship between success and multiple size measures was complex. There was no trend, over a sequence of chorus nights, in the total number of males calling, but larger males generally entered the breeding assemblages earlier and participated in more choruses. After entering their first chorus, males tended to call for an unbroken sequence of nights. Males entering the most choruses achieved the most matings. There was a weak negative correlation between time spent calling and mating success, and the mean duration of calling events was less for those that led to mating than for those that did not; these results may well have been due to the large proportion of matings achieved through amplexus displacement rather than vocal advertisement. The major proximate mechanisms contributing to the mating system relate to chorus participation; larger males arrived at the breeding site first, participated in more choruses, and achieved the greatest number of matings. The advantage enjoyed by large males in the amplexus displacement process may have been the ultimate determinant of their mating success, especially since female choice was not size-selective.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, PO Box MP 167, Harare, Zimbabwe)


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