Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Brain Res. 2003 Oct 17;145(1-2):63-77.

Roles of the auditory midbrain and thalamus in selective phonotaxis in female gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor).

Author information

Zoological Institute, University of Cologne, Weyertal 119, 50923, Cologne, Germany.


Diencephalic and midbrain auditory nuclei are involved in the processing of auditory communication signals in anurans [Comparative Hearing: Fish and Amphibians, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1999, p. 218], but their exact roles in acoustically guided behavior, such as female phonotaxis, are unclear. To address this question, behavioral experiments were combined with lesions of dorsal thalamic nuclei and the midbrain torus semicircularis. Females were tested in two-alternative-forced-choice phonotactic experiments before and after a defined brain area was lesioned. During phonotactic tests, females had to choose between a "standard" synthetic call and one of three different variants, each of which had a single acoustic property (pulse rate, pulse rise-time, sound spectrum) that differed from the standard synthetic call. Results showed that dorsomedial thalamus lesions produced little or no effect on phonotaxis. In contrast, superficial and deep thalamus lesions, as well as lesions of the torus semicircularis, significantly decreased the number of phonotactic responses and increased the response time. Superficial thalamus lesions also abolished or reversed preferences for the standard call in the rise-time and sound spectrum tests. This effect is likely to have been caused by an imbalance in the stimulation of the thalamus by the low- and high-frequency pathways because these preferences were not affected in animals with more extensive lesions that included the superficial thalamus. Our data suggest that the torus semicircularis, but not the dorsal thalamus is crucial for phonotaxis in gravid, reproductively active females. Although dorsal thalamic nuclei seem to play a role in spectral sensitivity, they may additionally have motivational or attentional functions that contribute to achieving a state of phonotactic readiness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center