Mating Signals

Mating Signals



Justlike human beings, animals communicate to one another to relaycertain information. Animal communication may take place between samespecies or different species. Animals may communicate when lookingfor mates, warning about predators, and authority, among others.Animal communication involves both sound and signals that can easilyunderstood by the target audience. It is notable that the messagecommunicated alters the behavior of the animals as a means ofresponding to the action. Ordinarily, animals have sensory organs orsignal modalities that enable them send and receive messages. Signalsare known to be effective diurnalanimals. As such, they may be used for defense or attract mates.Sound is also another significant component used by animals to sendor receive messages (Tobias &amp Seddon, 2009). The message relayedprompts certain behavior or action that is understood easily by thecommunicator and the receiver.

Inthis paper, I shall examine the comparison of the mating signals ofanurans and passerines. Anurans are animals found the class ofAmphibians. It comprises animals such as toads and frogs. Passerinesare birds from the order, Passeriformes, that comprises about half ofbird species. The arrangement of their toes enables perching and longdistance movement (Tobias &amp Seddon, 2009). Also called songbirds,passerines produce unique sounds. In their mating system, bothanurans and passerines adopt the leksystemwhere the males gather in a competitive engagement to attract thefemales. The leksare created during or before the breeding period. The species exhibitcertain features such as sound display and strong female mate choice.Communication signals and sounds produced by the anurans andpasserines helps in attracting mates as well as act as channel forsexual advertisement (Richards, 2006).


Bothanurans and passerines display unique but similar behaviors in thechoice of a mating partner. Sexual selection among the two speciesinvolves competition amongst the males where the ‘fittest’ getsthe opportunity to be the sex partner. Anurans are known toexperience breeding seasons. During the period, the males move closeto the edge of the water or habitats where they make variedvocalizations (Tobias &amp Seddon, 2009). This male-male competitionis meant to attract mates. The males with the deepest sounds and goodterritories are chosen to be mates. The depth of croaking is acritical feature in attaining the approval from the female.Sometimes, the males compete directly with one another to attract theattention of the females. In such a case, there arises a duel amongthe competing males. Passerines and anurans exhibit the lekbehavior where the males display their prowess in what looks like acompetition. The male with the attractive abilities in producingvisual or sound signals has a higher chance of mating success. Ontheir part, the females portray certain breeding behaviors that drawthe females to mate. Their behavior may be reflected in terms ofsound or visual signals that are eventually communicated to the males(Amrhein,Korner, &amp Naguib, 2002).

Astudy conducted on the mating system of the European passerinesindicates that about 39percent are polygynous with majority being monoterritorial. The samestudy indicates that polygyny is common among the species with morethan one territory. Polygyny was found to be frequent for speciesmating in open habitats.Sexualdimorphism was found to be more prevalent for monoterritorialcompared to polyterritorial passerines. In their territories, thepasserines use sound signals to attract mates(Møller, 1986).The distinct attributes amongst the species is a factor thatcontributes to their unique mating signals.

Moreover,the mating signals are useful in resolving conflicts as well asdefending territories against intrusion by other species looking formates. Lekbehavioris known to involve competing males seeking to gain access to thefemales. With the communication system and natural selection, thespecies use honesty to fight their opponents without necessarilyengaging in a duel. Males use the signaling system to defend theirfemales from intruders belonging to other territories. Signalsindicate the fighting abilities of the males by producing quality,loud, and unique sound signals to attract the mates. Nonetheless,physical fights are evident in instances where the signals are notsufficient to decide the winner. Bothanurans and passerines exhibit the characteristics that enable themfind a mating partner (Graft,Schmuck, &amp Linsenmair, 1992).Females to pair with mates or make mating decisions use theinformation coded through the signals. There is evidence thatfemales, especially passerines may mate two different males if shegets a more attractive song while mating. Females are highlyresponsive to certain signal traits (Riebel, 2003). Anurans andpasserines portray different signals that are indicative of theirinterests in mating. On most cases, the species change their signaland communication behavior after mating hence indicating that thesignals play specific roles. Further, the different signals areindicative of the distinct interests and attraction traits among thefemales. It is notable from various studies that there is no directrelationship between the social mating system and the frequencies ofthe signals (Riebel, 2003).

Soundsignals play a significant role in attracting the mates. Studiesindicate the effective reproduction demands the identification ofgood and quality mates. The quality of the sound whether vocalizationor croaking influences the choice by the mates. Poor quality ornon-production of signals may not attract the females to the malesfor mating. Visual signals are also common in these species where themale produces an elaborate dance as well as decorated bowers.Passerines attract the mates by dancing and wobbling their feathers.Still, the females can make mating signals to attract the males. Thechoosy characteristic among the females is an indication of the greatreproductive investment that the animals have to undergo. Thesignals, whether visual or sound, that is attractive results in anengagement between the two species. The sound calls produced byeither anuransor passerines occur in varying duration (Richards, 2006). Theduration may depend on the number of competing forces as well as theenvironment. Ordinarily, long calls are more attractive to the matesthan short calls. Nonetheless, maintaining long calls requires greatenergy hence could turn inappropriate for the males. Some anuransadjust their normal croaking sounds to suit the circumstances andproduce unique but attractive sounds. The complexity of the calls mayalso change from time to time. Call intensity and frequency havegreat influence in attracting mates. Studies indicate that theintensity and the frequency of sound signals depend on the size ofthe animal. As such, large species with dominant frequency havehigher chances of being chosen compared to the smaller ones.Nonetheless, there are some anuran species where size does notinfluence mating success. Female raucous toad, for instance, are moreattracted to the call rates that does not necessarily depend on thesize of the species (Richards, 2006).

Overall,mating signals exhibited by both anuran and passerines are intendedto communicate their prowess hence attract the mates. The benefitsrealized include mating success. This comes with costs for both malesand females (Grafe,1997).Increased vocalization can reduce the mass of the snipe. It is not aneasy engagement as it may turn to a fight amongst the competingmales. Animal communication is significant in fulfilling their matingdesires. Since they do not communicate like human beings, animalsresort to using signals and tricks to attract the females. Foranurans and passerines, it is evident that the two species have anumber of similarities in their mating signals. The comparisons areattributable to the usage of competing behaviors, vocalization andvisual signals (Richards, 2006).


Matingsignals in animals indicate the communication abilities to relayinformation. The study indicates great comparisons of the matingsignals and behaviors of anurans and passerines. Through sound andvisual signals, the males communicate their intimacy prowess to themates. It is evident that the two species adopts the lekbehaviorwhere the males engage in a competition to attract the females. Thebehavior depicts that communication is important in animals to suittheir needs and enhance reproduction. Both male and femalecommunicate their behaviors to indicate their intentions. The paperhas shown that both the anurans and passerines use their prowess incommunicating signals that are attractive either gender. The studywill help in understanding the mating behaviors among animals livingin groups as well as the tricks they use to communicate their matinginterests.


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