Behavioral refractory period in neotropical treefrogs
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The evoked vocal responses of the treefrogsEleutherodactylus coqui andHyla ebraccata were studied in their natural habitats. Acoustic playback experiments were performed in which the animals' vocalizations were used to trigger the production of a synthetic acoustic stimulus, after an appropriate delay.
For each species, there was a time period immediately following the frog's call during which an acoustic stimulus was almost completely ineffective at eliciting synchronized responses from the male. This was termed the absolutebehavioral refractory period (BRP) and it's mean value differed for the two species: forE. coqui it is 1133 ms, forH. ebraccata it is 210 ms.
Immediately following the absolute BRP was a period of about 0.5 s during which an acoustic stimulus evoked synchronized responses with a probability which was a monotonically increasing function of the time of stimulus occurrence, until a particular maximum rate was reached for each individual frog. This period is called the relative BRP.
Both the duration of the relative BRP and the functional dependence of the synchronized response rate on the time of stimulus occurrence during the relative BRP were remarkably similar for these two species.
These results are discussed in relation to the density of calling males of each species and are interpreted as an adaptation for avoiding acoustic interference when communicating in a highly noisy environment.
KeywordsMaximum Rate Natural Habitat Functional Dependence Refractory Period Acoustic Stimulus
behavioral refractory period
sound pressure level
- C. V.
coefficient of variation
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