Noisy neighbours at the frog pond: effects of invasive cane toads on the calling behaviour of native Australian frogs

Bleach, Iris T., Beckmann, Christa, Both, Camila, Brown, Gregory P. and Shine, Richard 2015, Noisy neighbours at the frog pond: effects of invasive cane toads on the calling behaviour of native Australian frogs, Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 675-683, doi: 10.1007/s00265-015-1879-z.

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Title Noisy neighbours at the frog pond: effects of invasive cane toads on the calling behaviour of native Australian frogs
Author(s) Bleach, Iris T.
Beckmann, ChristaORCID iD for Beckmann, Christa
Both, Camila
Brown, Gregory P.
Shine, Richard
Journal name Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Volume number 69
Issue number 4
Start page 675
End page 683
Total pages 9
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Weinheim, Germany
Publication date 2015-01-01
ISSN 0340-5443
Keyword(s) Acoustic communication
Bufo marinus
Invasive species
Playback experiments
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Behavioral Sciences
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Summary Invasive species can disrupt the communication systems that native biota use for reproductive interactions. In tropical Australia, invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) breed in many of the same waterbodies that are used by native frogs, and males of both the invader and the native taxa rely on vocal signals to attract mates. We conducted playback experiments to test the hypothesis that calls of toads may influence the calling behaviour of frogs (Limnodynastes convexiusculus and Litoria rothii). Male L. convexiusculus adjusted their calling rate and the variance in inter-call interval in response to a variety of sounds, including the calls of cane toads as well as those of other native frog species, and other anthropogenic noise, whereas L. rothii did not. Within the stimulus periods of playbacks, male L. convexiusculus called more intensely during long silent gaps than during calling blocks. Thus, males of one frog species reduced their calling rate, possibly to minimise energy expenditure during periods of acoustic interference generated by cane toads. In spite of such modifications, the number of overlapping calls (within stimulus periods) did not differ significantly from that expected by chance. In natural conditions, the calls of cane toads are continuous rather than episodic, leaving fewer gaps of silence that male frogs could exploit. Future work could usefully quantify the magnitude of temporal (e.g. diel and seasonal) and spatial overlap between calling by toads and by frogs and the impact of call-structure shifts on the ability of male frogs to attract receptive females.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00265-015-1879-z
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
060204 Freshwater Ecology
050103 Invasive Species Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
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