Multimodal Communication in a Noisy Environment: A Case Study of the Bornean Rock Frog Staurois parvus

T. Ulmar Grafe (Korresp. Autor*in), Doris Preininger, Marc Sztatecsny, Rosli Kasah, J. Maximilian Dehling, Sebastian Proksch, Walter Hödl

    Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


    High background noise is an impediment to signal detection and perception. We report the use of multiple solutions to improve signal perception in the acoustic and visual modality by the Bornean rock frog, Staurois parvus. We discovered that vocal communication was not impaired by continuous abiotic background noise characterised by fast-flowing water. Males modified amplitude, pitch, repetition rate and duration of notes within their advertisement call. The difference in sound pressure between advertisement calls and background noise at the call dominant frequency of 5578 Hz was 8 dB, a difference sufficient for receiver detection. In addition, males used several visual signals to communicate with conspecifics with foot flagging and foot flashing being the most common and conspicuous visual displays, followed by arm waving, upright posture, crouching, and an open-mouth display. We used acoustic playback experiments to test the efficacy-based alerting signal hypothesis of multimodal communication. In support of the alerting hypothesis, we found that acoustic signals and foot flagging are functionally linked with advertisement calling preceding foot flagging. We conclude that S. parvus has solved the problem of continuous broadband low-frequency noise by both modifying its advertisement call in multiple ways and by using numerous visual signals. This is the first example of a frog using multiple acoustic and visual solutions to communicate in an environment characterised by continuous noise.
    FachzeitschriftPLoS ONE
    PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2012

    ÖFOS 2012

    • 106054 Zoologie
    • 106012 Evolutionsforschung
    • 106047 Tierökologie