Original Paper

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 613-621

First online:

Intrasexual competition, territoriality and acoustic communication in male strawberry poison frogs (Oophaga pumilio)

  • Ivonne MeucheAffiliated withInstitute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine Email author 
  • , K. Eduard LinsenmairAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Biozentrum, University of Würzburg
  • , Heike PröhlAffiliated withInstitute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine

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In many species male reproductive success is limited by access to females. Territoriality is one behavioural strategy which helps to acquire females. In the present study, we investigated the correlation between territory size and (1) female availability and (2) rate of intrusion by conspecific males in strawberry poison frogs, Oophaga pumilio. Males defended smaller territories in areas with a high female density and high rate of intrusion by conspecific males. Only males with high body condition values were able to establish territories in areas of high female density probably due to better fighting abilities. Moreover, dominant calling frequency was lower during agonistic interactions. Because only males with high body condition values were able to produce very low dominant frequencies, the acoustic properties appear to be an honest signal containing information about fighting abilities. Thus, the negative correlation between dominant frequency and mating success of males found in previous studies seems to be in part the result of intrasexual competition between males.


Territory size Aggressive interactions Fighting assessment Frequency alteration Dendrobatidae