Vocal Sound Production and Acoustic Communication in Amphibians and Reptiles

Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 53)


Most amphibians and reptiles produce sounds with a larynx containing a pair of vocal cords. Clicking and hissing are common in both groups whereas tonal sounds are found most frequently in anurans and geckos. Calls can exceed 90 dB SPL at a distance of 1 m and they can have fundamental frequencies above 20 kHz. Calling is used mostly by males for courtship and territorial displays. Offspring and females call to synchronize hatching and to mediate maternal care. Adults and juveniles in many groups produce hissing when threatened. Amphibians and reptiles include more than 17,000 species. As a result of this diversity, major advances in the field of vocalization are made through exploratory research but also through careful experimentation and the use of novel technologies. Combining the study of vocal and auditory systems is important to explain issues such as the diversity of frequency tuning in the group. Many questions can also be answered through comparative studies in amphibians and reptiles because these groups have evolved independent solutions to common communication problems.


Amplitude modulation Bellow Call Crocodile Frequency modulation Frog Gecko Hiss Larynx Nonlinearity Toad Turtle Ultrasound Vocal cord Vocal sac 



The authors thank Cristina O. Gridi-Papp and the editors for reviewing the manuscript.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of the PacificStocktonUSA

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