Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Biology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Julian C. Lee

Second Committee Member

William Searcy

Third Committee Member

Kathryn Tosney

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Wassersug


In species where males do not provide immediate benefits to females in the form of resources or parental care to offspring, adaptive mate choice may be maintained by selection because preferred males sire offspring that are genetically superior. I test the hypothesis that female mating preferences result in enhanced performance of their larvae, owing to genetic variation among sires in two species of red-eyed treefrogs. This variation in males may be manifested as body size or in advertisement call parameters. I examined natural pairing patterns and found that both species display a size-based mating pattern with substantial seasonal effects. In lean years, females mate with males that are larger on average, yet females also seem to favor a constant size ratio of the male relative to her body size. I documented significant call trait variation both within and among males and have evidence to support size-related call traits as indicators of mating success for some properties. Finally, I provide evidence for a pronounced effect of sire size on offspring traits, most notably upon hatching that may have significant post-metamorphic fitness benefits. My study provides data on the basis of female choice and may provide a link between female preference for male traits and enhanced offspring performance by larvae sired by preferred males in the evolution of anuran mating systems.


Tadpole; Mating System; Frog; Female Choice; Behavior; Anuran