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Abstract It is well known that animal decision-making can be influenced by environmental variables, such as the risk of predation. During the breeding season, nocturnal amphibians encounter a range of environmental conditions at breeding aggregations, including variable ambient light conditions. For nocturnal frogs, illumination is expected to minimize conspicuous movement that might increase predator detection. Previous work has shown that female Physalaemus pustulosus (Cope, 1864) (= Engystomops pustulosus (Cope, 1864)) are sensitive to variation in light levels during mate choice. Here we use an acoustic playback design in which stimuli are adjusted for intensity and complexity during female phonotaxis to show that choosiness is influenced by light level. Frogs were more likely to commit to an initial mate choice despite a dynamic reduction in mate attractiveness under dim light conditions compared with darkness. These results suggest that females are trading off the attractiveness of potential mates with the perceived costs of executing mate choice by committing to an initial decision and thereby reducing assessment time and movement. The dynamic playback design used here provides an approach that could be applied in other systems in which context-dependent decision-making is thought to be important.