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Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 203, Issue 4, pp 265–273 | Cite as

Vasotocin induces sexually dimorphic effects on acoustically-guided behavior in a tropical frog

  • Alexander T. Baugh
  • Michael J. Ryan
Original Paper

Abstract

The neuropeptide arginine vasotocin (AVT) promotes sexual advertisement and influences vocalization structure in male anuran amphibians. In the present study, we used wild túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) to investigate the effects of AVT on phonotaxis in males and females—thereby controlling for potential task differences between the sexes. Using a combined within- and between-subjects design, we showed that acoustic choice behavior in female frogs is not influenced by injection per se (vehicle) or by AVT. Latency to choice in females, however, tends to decrease after AVT injection, supporting the hypothesis that AVT promotes female sexual arousal. In contrast, male choice behavior and latencies are negatively impacted by injection (vehicle) but rescued to pre-injection levels if administered with AVT. The sexes differed in area restricted searching (ARS) following choice—a measure of locomotor perseverance—with females but not males exhibiting ARS. AVT did not influence ARS behavior but ARS frequency was positively associated with the attractiveness of the acoustic stimulus. Finally, we showed that a female’s latency behavior is correlated with her partner’s behavior. Collectively we show that AVT promotes phonotaxis in both sexes in a dimorphic manner—a result that is consistent with sex differences in the neural vasotocin system.

Keywords

Arginine vasotocin Phonotaxis Physalaemus pustulosus Sex differences Túngara 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The National Science Foundation (IOB 0544096; MJR) funded this research. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute provided logistical support for this study and Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente approved scientific permits in the Republic of Panamá. Animal use was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at The University of Texas at Austin.

Supplementary material

359_2017_1155_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (344 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 343 KB)
359_2017_1155_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (304 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 303 KB)
359_2017_1155_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (310 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 309 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Integrative BiologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboa AnconPanama

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