Sophisticated Communication in the Brazilian Torrent Frog Hylodes japi
Sa, Fabio P. de [UNESP]
Haddad, Celio F. B. [UNESP]
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Public Library Science
Intraspecific communication in frogs plays an important role in the recognition of conspecifics in general and of potential rivals or mates in particular and therefore with relevant consequences for pre-zygotic reproductive isolation. We investigate intraspecific communication in Hylodes japi, an endemic Brazilian torrent frog with territorial males and an elaborate courtship behavior. We describe its repertoire of acoustic signals as well as one of the most complex repertoires of visual displays known in anurans, including five new visual displays. Previously unknown in frogs, we also describe a bimodal inter-sexual communication system where the female stimulates the male to emit a courtship call. As another novelty for frogs, we show that in addition to choosing which limb to signal with, males choose which of their two vocal sacs will be used for visual signaling. We explain how and why this is accomplished. Control of inflation also provides additional evidence that vocal sac movement and color must be important for visual communication, even while producing sound. Through the current knowledge on visual signaling in Neotropical torrent frogs (i.e. hylodids), we discuss and highlight the behavioral diversity in the family Hylodidae. Our findings indicate that communication in species of Hylodes is undoubtedly more sophisticated than we expected and that visual communication in anurans is more widespread than previously thought. This is especially true in tropical regions, most likely due to the higher number of species and phylogenetic groups and/or to ecological factors, such as higher microhabitat diversity.
Plos One. San Francisco: Public Library Science, v. 11, n. 1, 24 p., 2016.