Research press release


Nature Ecology & Evolution

Sexier frogs in the city



Wouter Halfwerkたちは、都会での生活が雄のトゥンガラガエル(Physalaemus pustulosus)のシグナル伝達行動をどのように変化させたかを調査している。Halfwerkたちは、パナマ運河付近の都市部と森林の両方で、生息しているカエルの特徴的な「ガガッ」という鳴き声を録音した。その結果、都会の雄は森林の雄と比較して鳴く回数が多く、鳴き声がより複雑であることが明らかになった。実験室内でトゥンガラガエルの雌に向けて、都会の雄の鳴き声と森林の雄の鳴き声を再生したところ、雌の4分の3は複雑さに勝る都会の雄の鳴き声に引き付けられることが分かった。


Male tungara frogs living in urban environments are more attractive to females than those living in forests because they have more complex vocal calls, suggests a study published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The findings also suggest that frogs in urban areas favour more conspicuous calls because they have fewer predators in than those in natural habitats.

The expansion of manmade environments in the natural world can cause problems for animal communication, with noise and light pollution interfering with visual and auditory signals.

Wouter Halfwerk and colleagues investigate how city life has altered the signalling behaviour of male tungara frogs. The authors recorded the characteristic ‘chuck’ calls of frogs living in both urban areas and forests near the Panama Canal. They found that urban males call more often and with greater call complexity than their forest counterparts. The authors played back the urban and forest calls to female tungara frogs in the lab, finding that three-quarters of the females were more attracted to the more complex urban calls.

Moving both tungara urban frogs into forest habitats and forest tungara frogs into urban habitats, the authors found that urban frogs could actively reduce the complexity of their calls in the new environment. However, forest frogs did not increase their call complexity in urban habitats. The authors suggest that evolution has selected for greater call flexibility in the urban world, where fewer eavesdropping predators were found compared to the forest, and so the risks of being overheard are lower.

doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0751-8

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