Ultrasonic frogs show hyperacute phonotaxis to female courtship calls

  • Shen J
  • Feng A
  • Xu Z
 et al. 
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Sound communication plays a vital role in frog reproduction, in which vocal advertisement is generally the domain of males. Females are typically silent, but in a few anuran species they can produce a feeble reciprocal call or rapping sounds during courtship. Males of concave-eared torrent frogs (Odorrana tormota) have demonstrated ultrasonic communication capacity. Although females of O. tormota have an unusually well-developed vocal production system, it is unclear whether or not they produce calls or are only passive partners in a communication system dominated by males. Here we show that before ovulation, gravid females of O. tormota emit calls that are distinct from males' advertisement calls, having higher fundamental frequencies and harmonics and shorter call duration. In the field and in a quiet, darkened indoor arena, these female calls evoke vocalizations and extraordinarily precise positive phonotaxis (a localization error of

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  • Jun Xian Shen

  • Albert S. Feng

  • Zhi Min Xu

  • Zu Lin Yu

  • Victoria S. Arch

  • Xin Jian Yu

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