Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Assessing the information content of calls of Litoria chloris: quality signalling versus individual recognition

Morgan J. McLean A C , Phillip J. Bishop A , Jean-Marc Hero B and Shinichi Nakagawa A

A Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.

B Environmental Futures Centre, School of Environment, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Qld 4222, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: morganmclean16@gmail.com

Australian Journal of Zoology 60(2) 120-126 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO12014
Submitted: 8 February 2012  Accepted: 29 July 2012   Published: 14 September 2012

Abstract

In many species, male animals produce costly signals to attract females. Intersexual indicator theories propose that these signals are indicative of male quality, whereas individual recognition models are based on the idea that male signals are used primarily to allow for individual discrimination. These two types of models make differing predictions about the nature of male signals. In particular, these models’ predictions differ in the information about a male’s quality that will be included in his signal, the frequency distributions of male signals in a population, and the ways in which the different traits that make up a signal will covary. Calls from the Australian frog Litoria chloris were tested for consistency with the predictions of intersexual indicator models and individual recognition models. The calls were found to contain minimal information on male quality, and the covariance between different signal traits was consistent with the individual recognition models. However, the frequency distributions of male signal traits agreed with intersexual indicator models. In addition, this study found evidence that the information content of calls may instead mediate intrasexual interactions, although more research is required to determine if this is the case.

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