Sex recognition and mate choice by male Bufo gargarizans in central China.

Department of Biology, College of Life Science, Xinyang Normal University, SD 464000, China.
ZOOLOGICAL SCIENCE (Impact Factor: 1.08). 06/2012; 29(6):347-50. DOI: 10.2108/zsj.29.347
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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    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.
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