Journal of Ethology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 291–295 | Cite as

Female Iberian midwife toads (Alytes cisternasii) use call order to reach particular males in dense choruses



Call-timing mechanisms among anuran males calling within choruses are frequent, and previous studies have indicated that midwife toad females respond preferentially to these mechanisms. The results of multi-speaker tests performed here with midwife toads suggest that the temporal order of male calls within a dense chorus can determine the ability of females to locate the most attractive calls (in this instance the low-frequency calls emitted by larger males). When call emission was regular in the multi-speaker tests, most females chose the most attractive option (i.e., the speaker emitting the lower-frequency call). When call emission was not regular, however, most females failed to reach the most attractive option, selecting the speaker that emitted immediately after that emitting the most attractive call. These results support the idea that there may be benefits for smaller males that emit their less attractive calls close to those of larger, more attractive males in dense choruses. Less attractive males could exploit the attractiveness of nearby larger males calls by alternating their calls in an unordered sequence to reach receptive females.


Call order effect Multi-speaker playback tests Female mate choice Iberian midwife toad Alytes cisternasii 


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSICMadridSpain
  2. 2.School of Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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