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Journal Articles Journal of Evolutionary Biology Year : 2018

How the environment shapes animal signals: a test of the acoustic adaptation hypothesis in frogs

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Abstract

Long-distance acoustic signals are widely used in animal communication systems and, in many cases, are essential for reproduction. The acoustic adaptation hypothesis (AAH) implies that acoustic signals should be selected for further transmission and better content integrity under the acoustic constraints of the habitat in which they are produced. In this study, we test predictions derived from the AAH in frogs. Specifically, we focus on the difference between torrent frogs and frogs calling in less noisy habitats. Torrents produce sounds that can mask frog vocalizations and constitute a major acoustic constraint on call evolution. We combine data collected in the field, material from scientific collections and the literature for a total of 79 primarily Asian species, of the families Ranidae, Rhacophoridae, Dicroglossidae and Microhylidae. Using phylogenetic comparative methods and including morphological and environmental potential confounding factors, we investigate putatively adaptive call features in torrent frogs. We use broad habitat categories as well as fine-scale habitat measurements and test their correlation with six call characteristics. We find mixed support for the AAH. Spectral features of torrent frog calls are different from those of frogs calling in other habitats and are related to ambient noise levels, as predicted by the AAH. However, temporal call features do not seem to be shaped by the frogs’ calling habitats. Our results underline both the complexity of call evolution and the need to consider multiple factors when investigating this issue.
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Dates and versions

mnhn-02520961 , version 1 (06-12-2022)

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S. Goutte, André Dubois, S. Howard, R. Márquez, J. J. L. Rowley, et al.. How the environment shapes animal signals: a test of the acoustic adaptation hypothesis in frogs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2018, 31 (1), pp.148-158. ⟨10.1111/jeb.13210⟩. ⟨mnhn-02520961⟩
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