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J Comp Physiol A. 1986 Apr;158(4):517-27.

Androgen-induced alterations in vocalizations of female Xenopus laevis: modifiability and constraints.


We examined effects of exogenous androgen (testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) on vocalizations of ovariectomized, adult female South African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis. When paired with sexually active males, all ovariectomized females exhibited ticking, the unreceptive or 'release' call. Ticking consists of low amplitude, regularly spaced clicks with a mean interclick interval of 154 ms. When androgen-treated and paired with sexually active males, these ovariectomized females also exhibited an aberrant call (atypical ticking) in which click multiples replaced the single clicks of ticking. Mean ICI's for atypical ticking were 37 ms for click doublets and 22 ms for click quadruplets. Androgen treatment decreased the total time spent vocalizing (typical and atypical ticking) by ovariectomized females. All androgen-treated females were then tested repeatedly with sexually receptive females in an attempt to elicit the male-typical vocalization, mate calling. Six of 17 females did not vocalize at all, even when gonadotropin injected. Eight females gave rapid (mean ICI, 36 ms) trains of clicks in an irregular temporal pattern (tick-like calls). Three females gave brief trills with alternating fast and slow components. Comparison of mate call-like vocalizations of androgen-treated females to mate calling of males reveals that calls in females are considerably shorter in duration (female: 0.32 min versus male: 45 min) and slower in tempo (ICI's; fast trill, female: 21 ms, male: 14 ms; slow trill, female: 36 ms, male: 28 ms). Incomplete masculinization of the vocal pattern of females by androgen treatment in adulthood may be due to developmental constraints on the modifiability of the neurons and muscles responsible for calling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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