Raising a racket: Invasive species compete acoustically with native treefrogs

Jennifer B. Tennessen, Susan E. Parks, Travis P. Tennessen, Tracy Langkilde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Environmental noise is increasing worldwide, limiting the space available for species to send and receive important acoustic information. Many invasive species produce acoustic signals that alter the spectrotemporal characteristics of available signalling space. This provides an opportunity to test ideas about competitive exclusion by quantifying whether species with shared requirements for acoustic resources will become excluded or partition resource use to permit coexistence. We conducted a field playback experiment to test whether native treefrogs (green treefrogs, Hyla cinerea; pine woods treefrogs, Hyla femoralis) modify their acoustic behaviour to minimize acoustic competition from chorus noise of the invasive Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis. We demonstrate that noise from an invasive species differentially affects the vocal behaviour of native species. Those with similar calls (H. cinerea) shortened calls, called louder and persisted calling in response to masking stimuli while those with different calls (H. femoralis) did not modify behaviour. This evidence suggests that acoustic competition by invasive O. septentrionalis has altered the acoustic community structure, identifying acoustic competition as a mechanism by which invasive species can impact communities. Furthermore, these results broaden the concept of noise pollution, demonstrating fitness-relevant consequences of noise produced by invasive species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Behaviour
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Acoustic competition
  • Acoustic niche
  • Hyla cinerea
  • Hyla femoralis
  • Invasive species
  • Noise
  • Osteopilus septentrionalis
  • Vocal behaviour
  • Vocal compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Raising a racket: Invasive species compete acoustically with native treefrogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this