Visual communication and aggressive behaviour in a giant mute torrent-frog, Megaelosia apuana (Anura; Hylodidae)

In: Amphibia-Reptilia

Abstract

Advertisement call is the most common signal used by anurans for intraspecific communication. However, some species have lost the ability to emit these vocalizations and are denoted as mute. Alternatively, these species may communicate by visual, tactile and chemical signals. The lack of advertisement call could be explained by the high background noise of breeding microhabitats. A model group to study alternative communication tactics is the genus Megaelosia, which is composed by seven mute species that inhabit noisy streams, and for which no information on intraspecific communication is available. We monitored a population of M. apuana and described its visual signalling during aggressive interactions between males. This interaction included visual signalling, physical combat, and the retreat of the smaller individual. No audible sound was detected during the whole aggressive interaction, reinforcing the genus muteness. This is the first report of any communication behaviour for the genus Megaelosia.

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