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Nocturnal visual displays and call description of the cascade specialist glassfrog Sachatamia orejuela

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 140 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • | 2 Third Millennium Alliance, Guanguiltagua N37-152 y Carlos Arosemena Tola, Edificio Lemarie, Officina 500, Quito 170516, Ecuador
  • | 3 Laboratorio de Biología Evolutiva, Instituto Biósfera, Colegio de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Campus Cumbayá, Diego de Robles s/n y Pampite, Quito 170901, Ecuador
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Abstract

Although most male frogs call to attract females, vocalizations alone can be ineffective long-range signals in certain environments. To increase conspicuousness and counter the background noise generated by rushing water, a few frog species around the world have evolved visual communication modalities in addition to advertisement calls. These species belong to different families on different continents: a clear example of behavioural convergent evolution. Until now, long-distance visual signalling has not been recorded for any species in the glassfrog family (Centrolenidae). Sachatamia orejuela, an exceptionally camouflaged glassfrog species found within the spray zone of waterfalls, has remained poorly studied. Here, we document its advertisement call for the first time — the frequency of which is higher than perhaps any other glassfrog species, likely an evolutionary response to its disruptive acoustic space — as well as a sequence of non-antagonistic visual signals (foot-flagging, hand-waving, and head-bobbing) that we observed at night.

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