Anurans (frogs and toads) are the most vocal amphibians. In most species, only males produce advertisement calls for defending territories and attracting mates. Female vocalizations are the exceptions among frogs, however in the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) both males and females produce distinct vocalizations. The matched filter hypothesis predicts a correspondence between peripheral auditory tuning of receivers and properties of species-specific acoustic signals, but few studies have assessed this relationship between the sexes. Measuring hearing sensitivity with a binaural recording of distortion product otoacoustic emissions, we have found that the ears of the males of this species are tuned to the dominant frequency of the female’s calls, whereas the ears of the females are tuned close to the dominant frequency of the male’s calls. Our findings provide support for the matched filter hypothesis extended to include male-female calling. This unique example of reciprocal matched filtering ensures that males and females communicate effectively in high levels of background noise, each sex being most sensitive to the frequencies of the other sex’s calls.
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Special thanks to Dr. Darcy B Kelley for all her support during the initial stages of this research project. We are grateful to Dr. Diane Papazian for providing the female frogs and to Frank Macias-Escriva for the data acquisition and analysis software. We thank the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. We would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Science Foundation (Award 1555734 to PMN) and the Grass Foundation (Grass Fellowship to ACC).
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Cobo-Cuan, A., Narins, P.M. Reciprocal Matched Filtering in the Inner Ear of the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis). JARO 21, 33–42 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10162-019-00740-4
- coupled ears
- amphibian papilla
- basilar papilla
- sexual dimorphism