Male treefrogs in low condition resume signaling faster following simulated predator attack
Current models indicate that an organism’s sensitivity to risk may be heavily influenced by the trade-off between current and future reproduction. Individuals that have fewer future reproductive opportunities are expected to show more risky behavior as they have less to lose if captured by a predator (the asset protection principle). In this study, we examined the effects of age and physical condition on risk taking behavior during sexual signaling in the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) to test the prediction that older and poor condition males will take greater risks than their younger or higher-condition counterparts. In accordance with these predictions, we found that males in low physical condition resumed signaling activity more rapidly following a simulated predator attack than their higher-condition counterparts, although this effect was only apparent in one of two study years. Further, males that resumed calling early did not offset their risk of detection by predators via reduced calling effort. Contrary to our predictions, we did not find age to be a significant predictor of risk taking in male signaling behavior. We conclude with a discussion of possible explanations for the discrepancy observed between years and highlight the potential reproductive consequences of variation in risk taking behavior.