Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 72–79

Territorial vocal behavior in hybrid smooth froglets, Geocrinia laevis complex (Anura: Myobatrachidae)

Original Article


Males of the parapatically distributed myobatrachid frogs Geocrinia laevis and G. victoriana have highly divergent advertisement calls. Furthermore, the two species differ strongly in the complexity of their vocal repertoires, with males of G. victoriana possessing, and those of G. laevis lacking, a distinct territorial vocalization (encounter call). We investigated the territorial vocal behavior of males in a persistent natural hybrid population. Most hybrid males possessed encounter calls functionally equivalent to those of G. victoriana, that were produced following exposure to playback of recorded advertisement calls presented at >110 dB peak sound pressure level. The territorial acoustic responses were not associated with an index of hybridity derived from the structure of the advertisement call, suggesting genetic and functional decoupling of the two components of the vocal repertoire; i.e., advertisement calls and encounter calls. This decoupling may be the result of sexual selection favouring those hybrids with pronounced territorial behavior and the associated vocalization, regardless of the structure of their advertisement calls.


Geocrinia laevis complex Hybrid zone Territoriality Advertisement call Encounter call 


  1. Baker MC (1991) Response of male indigo and lazuli buntings and their hybrids to song playback in allopatric and sympatric populations. Behaviour 119:225–242Google Scholar
  2. Barker J, Grigg GC, Tyler MJ (1995) A field guide to Australian frogs. Surrey Beatty, Chipping NortonGoogle Scholar
  3. Buchner A, Erdfelder E, Faul F (1997). How to use GPOWER. On line guide to GPOWER software.
  4. Butlin RK (1987) Speciation by reinforcement. Trends Ecol Evol 2:8–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butlin RK (1995) Reinforcement: an idea evolving. Trends Ecol Evol 10:432–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, N.J.Google Scholar
  7. Erdfelder E, Faul F, Buchner A (1996). GPOWER: a general power analysis program. Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput 28:1–11Google Scholar
  8. Given MF (1988) Territoriality and aggressive interactions of male carpenter frogs, Rana virgatipes. Copeia 1988:411–421Google Scholar
  9. Greenhouse SW, Geisser S (1959) On methods in the analysis of profile data. Psychometrika 24:95–112Google Scholar
  10. Harrison PA, Littlejohn MJ (1985) Diphasy in the advertisement calls of Geocrinia laevis (Anura: Leptodactylidae): vocal responses of males during field playback experiments. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 18:67–73Google Scholar
  11. Hotelling H (1953) New light on the correlation coefficient and its transforms. J R Stat Soc B 15:193–232Google Scholar
  12. Keselman HJ, Rogan JC (1980) Repeated measures F tests in psychophysiological research: controlling the number of false positives. Psychophysiology 17:499–503Google Scholar
  13. Littlejohn MJ (1988) Frog calls and speciation. The retrograde evolution of homogamic acoustic signalling systems in hybrid zones. In: Fritzsch B, Ryan MJ, Wilczynski W, Hetherington TE, Walkowiak W (eds) The evolution of the amphibian auditory system. Wiley, New York, pp 613–635Google Scholar
  14. Littlejohn MJ (1999) Variation in advertisement calls of anurans across zonal interactions. In: Foster SA, Endler JA (eds) Geographic variation in behavior. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 209–233Google Scholar
  15. Littlejohn MJ, Harrison PA (1985) The functional significance of the diphasic advertisement call of Geocrinia victoriana (Anura: Leptodactylidae) Behav Ecol Sociobiol 16:363–373Google Scholar
  16. Littlejohn MJ, Martin AA (1964) The Crinia laevis complex (Anura: Leptodactylidae) in south-eastern Australia. Aust J Zool 12:70–83Google Scholar
  17. Littlejohn MJ, Watson GF (1973) Mating-call variation across a narrow hybrid zone between Crinia laevis and C. victoriana (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Aust J Zool 21:277–284Google Scholar
  18. Littlejohn MJ, Watson GF (1974) Mating call discrimination and phonotaxis by females of the Crinia laevis complex (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Copeia 1974:171–175Google Scholar
  19. Littlejohn MJ, Watson GF (1976a) Mating-call structure in a hybrid population of the Geocrinia laevis complex (Anura: Leptodactylidae) over a seven-year period. Evolution 30:848–850Google Scholar
  20. Littlejohn MJ, Watson GF (1976b) Effectiveness of a hybrid mating call in eliciting phonotaxis by females of the Geocrinia laevis complex (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Copeia 1976:76–79Google Scholar
  21. Littlejohn MJ, Watson GF, Loftus-Hills JJ (1971) Contact hybridization in the Crinia laevis complex (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Aust J Zool 19:85–100Google Scholar
  22. McDiarmid RW, Adler K (1974) Notes on territorial and vocal behavior of neotropical frogs of the genus Centrolenella. Herpetologica 30:75–78Google Scholar
  23. Noor MA (1995) Speciation driven by natural selection in Drosophila. Nature 375:674–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pearson SF (2000) Behavioral asymmetries in a moving hybrid zone. Behav Ecol 11:84–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pearson SF, Rohwer S (2000) Asymmetries in male aggression across an avian hybrid zone. Behav Ecol 11:93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ramer JA, Jenssen TA, Hurst CJ (1983) Size-related variation in the advertisement call of Rana clamitans (Anura: Ranidae), and its effects on conspecific calls. Copeia 1983:141–155Google Scholar
  27. Read K, Keogh JS, Scott IA, Roberts JD, Doughty P (2001) Molecular phylogeny of the Australian frog genera Crinia, Geocrinia, and allied taxa (Anura: Myobatrachidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol 21:294–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Robertson JGM (1986) Male territoriality, fighting and assessment of fighting ability in the Australian frog Uperoleia rugosa. Anim Behav 34:736–772Google Scholar
  29. Sanderson N (1989) Can gene flow prevent reinforcement? Evolution 43:1223–1235Google Scholar
  30. Scroggie MP (2001) Zonal hybridization in the Geocrinia laevis complex (Anura, Myobatrachidae): population ecology and male acoustic behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  31. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 3rd edn. W.H. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Thomas L (1997) Retrospective power analysis. Conserv Biol 11:276–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wagner WE (1989a) Social correlates of variation in male calling behaviour in Blanchard’s cricket frog, Acris crepitans blanchardi. Ethology 82:27–45Google Scholar
  34. Wagner WE (1989b) Graded aggressive signals in Blanchard’s cricket frog: vocal responses to opponent proximity and size. Anim Behav 38:1025–1038Google Scholar
  35. Wagner WE (1989c) Fighting, assessment, and frequency alteration in Blanchard’s cricket frog. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 25:429–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wagner WE (1992) Deceptive or honest signalling of fighting ability? A test of alternative hypotheses for the function of changes in call dominant frequency by male cricket frogs. Anim Behav 44:449–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wardell-Johnson G, Roberts JD (1993) Biogeographic barriers in a subdued landscape: the distribution of the Geocrinia rosea (Anura: Myobatrachidae) complex in south-western Australia. J Biogeogr 20:95–108Google Scholar
  38. Wells KD (1978) Territoriality in the green frog (Rana clamitans): vocalizations and agonistic behaviour. Anim Behav 26:1051–1063CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wells KD (1988) The effect of social interactions on anuran vocal behavior. In: Fritzch B, Ryan MJ, Wilczynski W, Hetherington TE, Walkowiak W (eds) The evolution of the amphibian auditory system. Wiley, New York, pp 433–454Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentArthur Rylah Institute for Environmental ResearchHeidelberg Australia

Personalised recommendations