The anuran vocal sac: a tool for multimodal signalling

Abstract

Although in anurans the predominant mode of intra- and intersexual communication is vocalization, modalities used in addition to or instead of acoustic signals range from seismic and visual to chemical. In some cases, signals of more than one modality are produced through or by the anuran vocal sac. However, its role beyond acoustics has been neglected for some time and nonacoustic cues such as vocal sac movement have traditionally been seen as an epiphenomenon of sound production. The diversity in vocal sac coloration and shape found in different species is striking and recently its visual properties have been given a more important role in signalling. Chemosignals seem to be the dominant communication mode in newts, salamanders and caecilians and certainly play a role in the aquatic life phase of anurans, but airborne chemical signalling has received less attention. There is, however, increasing evidence that at least some terrestrial anuran species integrate acoustic, visual and chemical cues in species recognition and mate choice and a few secondarily mute anuran species seem to fully rely on volatile chemical cues produced in glands on the vocal sac. Within vertebrates, frogs in particular are suitable organisms for investigating multimodal communication by means of experiments, since they are tolerant of disturbance by observers and can be easily manipulated under natural conditions. Thus, the anuran vocal sac might be of great interest not only to herpetologists, but also to behavioural biologists studying communication systems.

DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.07.027

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Starnberger2014TheAV, title={The anuran vocal sac: a tool for multimodal signalling}, author={Iris Starnberger and Doris Preininger and Walter H{\"{o}dl}, booktitle={Animal Behaviour}, year={2014} }