The effective production of acoustic signals is critically important for intraspecific communication in vocal animals; however, it is also highly time-consuming, energetically demanding and likely to increase predation risks. Thus, we hypothesized that the biological significance of each component of complex acoustic signals would differ serving specific functions and that the first component of such signals would be most important for social signalling and exhibit unique acoustic characteristics because of the precedence effect. To test this hypothesis, we measured temporal and spectral acoustic parameters for each note in the advertisement calls of the Anhui tree frog (Rhacophorus zhoukaiya), a species in which males build mud burrows and call from within these nests. Multivariate analyses including hierarchical cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling were used, based on temporal and spectral acoustic parameters for each of 10 notes/call. These results show that the first call notes form one cluster while the other notes form a second cluster in multidimensional space when the parameters measured were normalized. Furthermore, the temporal and spectral sound attributes of the first call note provide sufficient information for discrimination between different individuals. Moreover, discriminant analysis showed that the fundamental frequency of the first note is sufficient to identify individuals when the data are not normalized. Taken together, these results indicate that the first call note is poised to play an important role in Anhui tree frog vocal communication insofar as the temporal and spectral features provide sufficient information for individual recognition.
Advertisement call, temporal and spectral properties, fundamental frequency, multivariate analysis, frog