Signal recognition by green treefrogs (hyla cinerea) and cope's gray treefrogs (hyla chrysoscelis) in naturally fluctuating noise

Alejandro Vélez, Mark A Bee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study tested three hypotheses about the ability of female frogs to exploit temporal fluctuations in the level of background noise to overcome the problem of recognizing male advertisement calls in noisy breeding choruses. Phonotaxis tests with green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) and Cope's gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) were used to measure thresholds for recognizing calls in the presence of noise maskers with (a) no level fluctuations, (b) random fluctuations, or level fluctuations characteristic of (c) conspecific choruses and (d) heterospecific choruses. The dip-listening hypothesis predicted lower signal recognition thresholds in the presence of fluctuating maskers compared with nonfluctuating maskers. Support for the dip-listening hypothesis was weak; only Cope's gray treefrogs experienced dip listening and only in the presence of randomly fluctuating maskers. The natural soundscapes advantage hypothesis predicted lower recognition thresholds when level fluctuations resembled those of natural soundscapes compared with artificial fluctuations. This hypothesis was rejected. In noise backgrounds with natural fluctuations, the species-specific advantage hypothesis predicted lower recognition thresholds when fluctuations resembled species-specific patterns of conspecific soundscapes. No evidence was found to support this hypothesis. These results corroborate previous findings showing that Cope's gray treefrogs, but not green treefrogs, experience dip listening under some noise conditions. Together, the results suggest level fluctuations in the soundscape of natural breeding choruses may present few dip-listening opportunities. The findings of this study provide little support for the hypothesis that receivers are adapted to exploit level fluctuations of natural soundscapes in recognizing communication signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-178
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume127
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Acoustic communication
  • Auditory masking
  • Cocktail party problem
  • Dip listening
  • Masking release

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