Red-eyed treefrogs differ in color, body size, and male advertisement call across populations in Costa Rica and Panama. We are conducting a series of female choice experiments to determine the role of sexual selection in mediating this population level variation. Our research examines mate choice across allopatric and clinal populations to understand the strength at varying scales of geographic and genetic distance. Future experiments will examine the mechanisms that underlie choice (such as color pattern, behavior, advertisement call, chemical cues).
To test for female choice, gravid (sexually receptive) females are field collected, placed into an enclosure, and presented with models of males for 10 minute trials. Male models are sculpted and painted to reflect the spectra of their populations and placed on a robotic platform to simulate movement. All trials are conducted under natural moonlight and viewed with an IR-sensitive camera. Our lab collaborates with Kristine Kaiser (CSUN) and Andres Vega (AMBICOR, Costa Rica).