No reproductive character displacement in male advertisement signals of Hyla japonica in relation to the sympatric H. suweonensis

Soyeon Park, Gilsang Jeong, Yikweon Jang

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Reproductive interaction between closely related taxa may leave a distinctive signature in which populations of interacting taxa are more dissimilar in sympatry than in allopatry. An ideal condition for such a pattern of reproductive character displacement (RCD) may occur when a population has limited gene flow and experiences strong selection pressure, exerted by an interacting taxon in areas of sympatry. In Korea, there are two closely related treefrog species: Hyla japonica, which is distributed widely throughout the country, and Hyla suweonensis, which occurs sympatrically in a narrow strip of western coastal plains. H. suweonensis is only found within the distribution of H. japonica. These two species have a similar single-note call structure. Here, we tested the possibility of RCD in H. japonica by examining geographic variation in advertisement calls. Although means of temporal and spectral characters were significantly different between the two species, sympatric populations of H. japonica and H. suweonensis overlapped in distributions of most characters. Furthermore, allopatric and sympatric H. japonica populations did not differ in all call characters. Weak genetic differentiation between sympatric and allopatric populations of H. japonica implied either substantial gene flow or recent genetic isolation. Possible explanations for no RCD in male advertisement calls of H. japonica include a difference in fine temporal characteristics between the two species, migration between sympatric and allopatric localities in H. japonica, RCD in female preferences in H. japonica, and weak selection pressure by H. suweonensis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1355
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We are grateful to Noori Choi and Hyunji Lee for field and laboratory assistance. We appreciate constructive comments of E. Smith on this paper. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (2012R1A2A2A01046977) and Ewha Global Top 5 Project to YJ and by the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant No. C00027) to GJ.


  • Advertisement call
  • Population structure
  • Reproductive character displacement
  • Reproductive isolation


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