Mate choice is important for successful reproduction, and consequently species have evolved various ways to choose potential high-quality mates. Anuran mate choice and underlying processes have been the subject of several recent investigations, however we are far from a complete understanding of mate choice in this system. In the present study, when given a simultaneous choice between a male and a female of identical size, males did not discriminate between the sexes, and attempted to clasp a male or a female with equal frequency. Test males only released the stimulus toad when a release call was emitted by the stimulus male. When two males with distinct size differences were provided with a male, the male chose the larger one. Moreover, males discriminated between gravid females that differed in body size, choosing larger gravid females over smaller ones. These results suggest that male Bufo gargarizans can discriminate between the sexes, probably based on male release calls, and prefer to mate with larger individual using visual cues.
"But what is the function of this behavior? In some species of explosive breeders where there is intense short-term competition for mates, male-male clasping has been observed due to a lack of sex discrimination during mate search , , . However, male-male clasps are not typically sustained in these instances, as the production of a release call by the claspee can effectively signal and terminate an inappropriate clasp, minimizing the cost of indiscriminate clasping , , . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Male Xenopus laevis frogs have been observed to clasp other males in a sustained, amplectant position, the purpose of which is unknown. We examined three possible hypotheses for this counter-intuitive behavior: 1) clasping males fail to discriminate the sex of the frogs they clasp; 2) male-male clasping is an aggressive or dominant behavior; or 3) that males clasp other males to gain proximity to breeding events and possibly engage in sperm competition. Our data, gathered through a series of behavioral experiments in the laboratory, refute the first two hypotheses. We found that males did not clasp indiscriminately, but showed a sex preference, with most males preferentially clasping a female, but a proportion preferentially clasping another male. Males that clasped another male when there was no female present were less likely to "win" reproductive access in a male-male-female triad, indicating that they did not establish dominance through clasping. However, those males did gain proximity to oviposition by continued male-male clasping in the presence of the female. Thus, our findings are consistent with, but cannot confirm, the third hypothesis of male-male clasping as an alternative reproductive tactic.
PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e97761. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0097761 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many anurans, the forelimb muscles of males are used to grasp females and are often heavier than those of females despite the larger female body size. Such sexual dimorphism in forelimb musculature is thought to result from sexual selection. In addition, the hindlimbs of frogs and toads play an important role in the reproductive process as amplectant males can expel rivals with robust hindlimbs through kicking. In this study, the sexual dimorphism in dry mass for six hindlimb muscles of the Asiatic toad (Bufo gargarizans) was investigated. The results showed that, when controlled for body size, the hindlimb muscle mass of males significantly exceeded that of females for every muscle. The hindlimb muscle mass of amplectant males was also significantly larger than that of non-amplectant males. These results suggested that if strong hindlimb muscles could improve mating success of males, sexual selection would promote the evolution of dimorphism in this character.
Asian Herpetological Research 01/2013; 4(1):56-61. DOI:10.3724/SP.J.1245.2013.00056 · 0.51 Impact Factor
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