Context and Condition Dependent Plasticity in Sexual Signaling in Gray Treefrogs
Behavioral plasticity, Sexual signaling, Hyla versicolor
For many species sexual signaling is a very costly activity, both in terms of energetic expenditure and increased conspicuousness to predators. One potential strategy to limit the costs of signaling is to only signal at maximum effort in contexts when signaling is expected to be most effective. Multiple studies have documented extensive plasticity in sexual signaling within a variety of contexts, however fewer experiments have examined individual-level variation in the extent of signaling plasticity and the causes of this variation. In this study we examined the influence of size and physical condition on the magnitude of signaling plasticity using a gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) study system. We quantified signaling plasticity by recording male calling behavior first in the absence and then in the presence of a sexually receptive female. For one call property, call length, we found that both weight and condition had a significant influence on the magnitude of plasticity. Smaller males, and males in higher condition exhibited the greatest degree of plasticity. We discuss several possible explanations for this pattern and provide suggestions for future work to examine the consequences of this plasticity and the potential interactive effects of multiple biotic and abiotic contexts on signaling plasticity.
Kuczynski, Michael C.; Eben Gering; and Thomas Getty. 2016. "Context and Condition Dependent Plasticity in Sexual Signaling in Gray Treefrogs." Behavioural Processes 124, (): 74-79. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.11.020.