Like humans, female tungara frogs are able to group similar auditory signals in order to locate the correct source of the sound, finds a study in Nature Communications this week. They use this ability to help locate a mate in the cacophony of mating calls in the breeding groups on the rain forest floor.
The male tungara frogs sing in complex aggregate patterns of ‘chucks’ and ‘whines’. This makes it a challenge for the female frog to assign the calls to the correct male in the presence of multiple auditory sources. Hamilton Farris and Michael Ryan show that the females group sounds with the smallest relative difference in call parameters, an approach often applied by humans.