Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 163, Issue 6, pp 795–802 | Cite as

Phonotactic responses and selectivity of barking treefrogs (Hyla gratiosa) to chorus sounds

  • H. Carl Gerhardt
  • Georg M. Klump


  1. 1.

    We tested the long-standing hypothesis that female frogs are attracted to the sound of a chorus of conspecific males from a distance. We studied the barking treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) because the location of choruses is unpredictable; thus, chorus sound indicates the presence of conspecific males as well as the location of a suitable breeding site.

  2. 2.

    We measured the sound pressure level (SPL in dB re 20 μPa) in the 500 Hz octave band at various distances from choruses. The primary spectral peak in the advertisement call of this species is 400–500 Hz.

  3. 3.

    The pattern of chorus sound attenuation in the 500 Hz band at two different sites was very similar and generally followed the pattern expected from geometrical spreading from a point source (Fig. 3). At one of the sites the SPL measured near ground level was always higher than that at a point 1 m above the ground (Fig. 3).

  4. 4.

    Spectral analyses of the chorus sound at different distances showed that the low-frequency spectral peak in the range of 400–500 Hz was a prominent component, especially at 80–160 m (Figs. 1, 4). Amplitude peaks that corresponded to individual calls ofH. gratiosa and other species were also evident in oscillograms of recordings made at 160 m (Fig. 1).

  5. 5.

    Gravid females oriented and moved toward a source of conspecific chorus sounds (originally recorded at 160 m from the pond) played back at 38–40 dB SPL in the 500 Hz octave band (Fig. 1, Table 1). Background noise levels were 43–47 dB SPL (C-weighted) and 24–25 dB SPL in the 500 Hz octave band.

  6. 6.

    In a two-stimulus, choice experiment, females ofH. gratiosa always chose the source of a mixed chorus (H. gratiosa andH. cinerea) sound with conspecific males to a source of a pure chorus sound ofH. cinerea (Fig. 2, Table 2).



Bark Sound Pressure Sound Pressure Level Spectral Peak Gravid Female 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Carl Gerhardt
    • 1
  • Georg M. Klump
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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