Animals recognize familiar individuals to perform a variety of important social behaviors. Social recognition is often mediated by communication between signalers who produce signals that contain identity information and receivers who categorize these signals based on previous experience. We tested two hypotheses about adaptations in signalers and receivers that enable the evolution of social recognition using two species of closely related territorial poison frogs. Male golden rocket frogs (<i>Anomaloglossus beebei</i>) recognize the advertisement calls of conspecific territory neighbors and display a "dear enemy effect" by responding less aggressively to neighbors than strangers, while male Kai rocket frogs (<i>A. kaiei</i>) do not. Our results did not support the identity signaling hypothesis: both species produced advertisement calls that contain similar amounts of identity information. Our results did support the identity reception hypothesis: both species exhibited habituation of aggression to playbacks simulating the arrival of a new neighbor, but only golden rocket frogs showed renewed aggression when they subsequently heard calls from a different male. These results suggest that an ancestral mechanism of plasticity in aggression common among frogs has been modified through natural selection to be specific to calls of individual males in golden rocket frogs, enabling a social recognition system.
|Date made available||2021|