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Conspecific odor cues induce different vocal responses in serrate-legged small treefrogs, but only in the absence of acoustic signals
Frontiers in Zoology  (IF3.172),  Pub Date : 2021-06-08, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-021-00415-y
Ke Deng, Ya Zhou, Qiao-Ling He, Bi-Cheng Zhu, Tong-Liang Wang, Ji-Chao Wang, Jian-Guo Cui

Signal detection is crucial to survival and successful reproduction, and animals often modify behavioral decisions based on information they obtained from the social context. Undeniably, the decision-making in male-male competition and female choice of anurans (frogs and toads) depends heavily on acoustic signals. However, increasing empirical evidence suggests that additional or alternative types of cue (e.g., visual, chemical, and vibratory) can be used to detect, discriminate and locate conspecifics in many anuran species. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated whether conspecific odor cues affect male’s calling behavior. In this study, we conducted an experiment to investigate whether and how different chemical cues (male odors, female odors, and stress odors) from conspecifics affect male’s calling strategies in serrate-legged small treefrogs (Kurixalus odontotarsus), and whether the combined chemical and acoustic stimuli have additive effects on calling behavior or not. We found that compared with female odors, male K. odontotarsus reduced calling investment in response to male odors or stress odors, in the absence of rival’s advertisement calls. When odor stimuli and advertisement calls were presented simultaneously, however, there were no differences in the vocal response of focal males among odor groups. These results provide evidence that male treefrogs switch calling investment according to different odor cues from conspecifics, and further demonstrate that calling behavior can be affected by chemical cues in anuran species. Our study highlights the potential role of airborne chemical cues in sex identification and contributes to increase our understanding of anuran communication.