Use of chorus sounds for location of breeding habitat in 2 species of anuran amphibians

Valerie L. Buxton, Michael P. Ward, Jinelle H. Sperry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conspecific cues have been shown to influence habitat selection in many different species. In anurans, conspecific chorus sounds may facilitate location of new breeding ponds, but direct experimental evidence supporting this notion is lacking. We conducted an experimental field study on American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) and Cope's gray tree frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) to determine whether toads and tree frogs use acoustic cues to find new breeding areas by broadcasting chorus sounds at artificial ponds. We found that acoustic cues were effective in attracting H. chrysoscelis to ponds; playback ponds were detected by H. chrysoscelis at significantly faster rates and had greater rates of use than control ponds. Anaxyrus americanus did not colonize ponds regardless of the presence of chorus sounds. This study provides some of the first experimental field evidence that anurans use conspecific cues to locate new breeding habitat; however, species with certain life-history traits may be more likely to exhibit this behavior. These findings may have valuable applications to amphibian conservation and management. If certain anuran species use presence of conspecifics to select habitat, managers may manipulate conspecific cues to passively translocate individuals across the landscape to target wetlands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • Anaxyrus
  • Breeding behavior
  • Chorus sounds
  • Conspecific attraction
  • Hyla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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