- NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Many animals use sounds produced by conspecifics for mate identification. Female insects and anuran amphibians, for instance, use acoustic cues to localize, orient toward and approach conspecific males prior to mating. Here we present a novel technique that utilizes multiple, distributed sound-indication devices and a miniature LED backpack to visualize and record the nocturnal phonotactic approach of females of the Australian orange-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) both in a laboratory arena and in the animal's natural habitat. Continuous high-definition digital recording of the LED coordinates provides automatic tracking of the female's position, and the illumination patterns of the sound-indication devices allow us to discriminate multiple sound sources including loudspeakers broadcasting calls as well as calls emitted by individual male frogs. This innovative methodology is widely applicable for the study of phonotaxis and spatial structures of acoustically communicating nocturnal animals.
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