Perceptually salient differences in a species recognition cue do not promote auditory streaming in eastern grey treefrogs (Hyla versicolor)

Lata Kalra, Shoshana Altman, Mark A. Bee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Auditory streaming underlies a receiver’s ability to organize complex mixtures of auditory input into distinct perceptual “streams” that represent different sound sources in the environment. During auditory streaming, sounds produced by the same source are integrated through time into a single, coherent auditory stream that is perceptually segregated from other concurrent sounds. Based on human psychoacoustic studies, one hypothesis regarding auditory streaming is that any sufficiently salient perceptual difference may lead to stream segregation. Here, we used the eastern grey treefrog, Hyla versicolor, to test this hypothesis in the context of vocal communication in a non-human animal. In this system, females choose their mate based on perceiving species-specific features of a male’s pulsatile advertisement calls in social environments (choruses) characterized by mixtures of overlapping vocalizations. We employed an experimental paradigm from human psychoacoustics to design interleaved pulsatile sequences (ABAB…) that mimicked key features of the species’ advertisement call, and in which alternating pulses differed in pulse rise time, which is a robust species recognition cue in eastern grey treefrogs. Using phonotaxis assays, we found no evidence that perceptually salient differences in pulse rise time promoted the segregation of interleaved pulse sequences into distinct auditory streams. These results do not support the hypothesis that any perceptually salient acoustic difference can be exploited as a cue for stream segregation in all species. We discuss these findings in the context of cues used for species recognition and auditory streaming.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Acoustic communication
  • Auditory perception
  • Auditory stream segregation
  • Grey treefrog
  • Species recognition
  • Vocal communication

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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