Event Abstract

Possible Functions of Call Alternation in Frog Choruses

  • 1 RIKEN, Brain Science Institute, Japan
  • 2 Kyoto University, Graduate School of Informatics, Japan
  • 3 University of Tokyo, Institute of Industrial Science, Japan

Synchronized behavior has been studied in various biological systems such as flashing of fireflies and calling of crickets. In particular, call alternation, e.g., anti-phase synchronization by two individuals, was observed in calling behavior of frogs, birds, mammals and crickets. Such alternating behavior can play an important role in their communication by mutually avoiding overlaps between calls: for example, two individuals call alternately so that their territories could be robustly maintained. In this presentation, we explain mathematical modeling and field research on frog choruses where two individuals tend to call alternately in anti-phase.

First, we model calling behavior of male frogs in their natural habitat as a system of coupled oscillators which changes its spatial structure dynamically. In the model, while call timings of frogs are described as phases (I.Aihara, Phys. Rev.E, 2011), the locations are given as vectors in two-dimensional space. In order to theoretically study possible mechanisms of call alternation, we assume that frogs participating in the choruses satisfy the following five conditions: (1) each frog calls periodically; (2) frogs mutually interact by calls; (3) frogs may hop in a field or change their locations; (4) two individuals tend to call alternately for maintaining their own territories; and (5) frogs are located along edges of a field including a pond, a river and a rice paddy. Our theoretical study shows that several types of synchronized behavior, such as two-cluster synchronization and wavy synchronization, co-exist in this model. Moreover, we show that stability of each synchronization mode could be affected both by background noise and a geometric shape of the field where frogs call.

Second, we explain a field research on frog choruses in their natural habitat. In the field research, we use a sound-to-light conversion device “FIREFLY” which consists of an electrical circuit including a LED and a microphone. Our previous study reveals that, when 20 devices are put in a room or in a field, locations of two frogs which are calling could be estimated with accuracy of almost the interval between neighboring devices (T.Mizumoto et.al., Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 2011). We expanded the sound imaging method and applied that to a field research of Japanese tree frogs: Namely, we put 80 devices in a rice paddy where male Japanese tree frogs called, recorded the flashing pattern with video cameras and showed that several frogs were localized. We explain the spatio-temporal dynamics in the frog choruses and discuss nonlinear dynamics realizing the choruses by comparing the model analysis and the field observation. Note that choruses by Japanese tree frogs satisfies many of the assumptions in our model analysis: for example, a single male Japanese tree frog calls periodically, two males tend to call alternately in anti-phase (I.Aihara, Phys. Rev.E, 2009), and male Japanese tree frogs are located along edges of a rice paddy in their natural habitat.


This study was partially supported by RIKEN's Special Postdoctoral Researcher Program, Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research (No.23650097), Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (No. 23.6572), and the FIRST program.


[1] I.Aihara, R.Takeda, T.Mizumoto, T.Otsuka, T.Takahashi, H.G.Okuno, and K.Aihara, Phys. Rev. E 83, 031913, 2011.
[2] T.Mizumoto, I.Aihara, T.Otsuka, R.Takeda, K.Aihara, and H.G.Okuno, Journal of Comparative Physiology A, Vol. 197, No.9, pp.915—921, 2011.
[3] I.Aihara, Phys. Rev. E 80, 011918, 2009.

Keywords: Field Research, Frog Chorus, mathematical modeling, Sound Imaging

Conference: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology, College Park. Maryland USA, United States, 5 Aug - 10 Aug, 2012.

Presentation Type: Poster (but consider for participant symposium and student poster award)

Topic: Computational Modeling

Citation: Aihara I, Mizumoto T, Otsuka T, Awano H, Okuno HG and Aihara K (2012). Possible Functions of Call Alternation in Frog Choruses. Conference Abstract: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnbeh.2012.27.00267

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Received: 30 Apr 2012; Published Online: 07 Jul 2012.

* Correspondence: Dr. Ikkyu Aihara, RIKEN, Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan, ikkyu.aihara@gmail.com