Saturday, 1 June 2013

Croaking Chorus of Cuban Frogs Make Noisy New Neighbors

May 30, 2013 — Human-produced noises from sources such as traffic and trains can substantially impact animals, affecting their ability to communicate, hunt, or even survive. But can the noise made by another animal have the same detrimental effects? A new study presented at the 21st International Congress on Acoustics (ICA 2013) examines the calls made by an invasive species of tree frog and suggests the answer is yes.

Ecologist Jennifer Tennessen, a graduate student at The Pennsylvania State University, and her colleagues recorded the calls of the Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) -- an invasive species that had arrived in southern Florida by the 1930s and spread rapidly, eventually establishing populations throughout the southeastern United States. Tennessen and colleagues measured the effect of those calls on the acoustic behavior of two native species of tree frogs in southern Florida: green tree frogs, which have an acoustic signature that is similar to that of the Cubans, and pine woods tree frogs, whose song is different.

"We predicted that Cuban tree frog chorusing would interfere most with native tree frogs whose acoustic behaviors were similar," she said, "and that these would be the most likely candidates to modify their acoustic behavior to avoid interference."

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