Eating to the beat of the drum: vibrational parameters of toe tapping behavior in Dendrobates truncatus (anura: dendrobatidae)

Published: 28 October 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/vzsrt5vcwp.1
Natalia Vergara-Herrera


Toe tapping is performed by certain anuran species while foraging for their prey. This behavior has been described in different frog families, with some hypotheses regarding its function, including predator-prey communication, still unverified. To understand the function of toe tapping and its potential relationship with foraging in anurans, the present research focuses on descriptive analysis of vibrational parameters of toe tapping produced during foraging in the poison dart frog Dendrobates truncatus. We implemented an experimentally designed arena that allowed us to record toe tapping vibrations using an accelerometer attached to an artificial substrate. Continuous recordings of toe tapping were obtained from 19 individuals, enabling us to identify and define the vibrational parameters, with reference to the time between attacks on prey. The average tap duration was 0.06 ± 0.01 s with an inter-tap interval of 0.15 ± 0.07 s. We also identified a pattern, displayed in 36.5% of the analyzed attacks, of progressive acceleration of toe tapping before an attack. Furthermore, we found that individuals with longer third toes were more likely to accelerate their taps. Lastly, we found no evidence of sexual dimorphism in the toe tapping behavior of Dendrobates truncatus. Describing the vibrational parameters of toe tapping in Dendrobates truncatus represents a new frontier of research in the field of foraging behavior and paves the way for hypothesis testing regarding its functionality.



Universidad del Magdalena


Behavioral Ecology