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Baugh AT, MJ Ryan
Animal Behaviour, Volume 79, Pages 145–152 (doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.10.015)
Publication year: 2010

Abstract  Signalling is a dynamic process that often occurs over brief timescales, particularly in the acoustic modality. Numerous studies of mate choice and acoustic communication have identified signal parameters essential for species recognition and mate preferences, although these studies have rarely considered the dynamic nature of these processes. Here we investigate mate choice behaviour in female túngara frogs, Physalaemus pustulosus, in response to temporally dynamic presentations of male advertisement calls. Our results demonstrate that females are sensitive to the location of preferred call types on a moment-to-moment basis, and that responses are influenced by the continued presence, complexity, sound pressure level and inherent attractiveness of individual male signals. In general, our results support the notion that decision making during mate choice is an open-ended process that is sensitive to interruption and persuasion from competing signallers. We show that for a species in which females actively compare multiple signallers simultaneously, the criterion that predicts the degree of commitment to an initial mate approach is whether there is a state change in the complexity of signals.