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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2017 May 15;246:142-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.12.003. Epub 2016 Dec 8.

Interrelationship among steroid hormones, energetics and vocalisation in the Bombay night frog (Nyctibatrachus humayuni).

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Department of Zoology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune 411007, India.
School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.
Department of Zoology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune 411007, India. Electronic address:


In vertebrates, the increase in plasma androgens and corticosteroids is essential for the expression of reproductive behaviour. In male anurans, the interaction between hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal and hypothalamus-pituitary-interrenal axes plays a pivotal role in calling behaviour and energy mobilisation through the secretion of testosterone and corticosterone respectively. To explain the association among body condition, testosterone, corticosterone and calling behaviour the energetic-hormone-vocalisation (EHV) model has been proposed. The model predicts that with continued participation in chorus activity within and across nights, levels of circulating androgens, corticosterone and vocal effort tend to increase and should be positively correlated in calling males. Consequently, decreasing energy reserves should be inversely correlated with corticosterone level in calling males. Depleted energy reserves lead to the peaking of circulating corticosterone, which suppresses androgen production and calling behaviour. In the present study, we used Nyctibatrachus humayuni with unique reproductive behaviour to test the model by quantifying calling behaviour and urinary metabolites of testosterone and corticosterone. We also computed the body condition index (BCI) to assess the association among energetics, levels of testosterone, corticosterone and calling behaviour. The results show that calling males had higher levels of urinary testosterone metabolites (UTM) than non-calling males indicating the importance of testosterone in controlling the calling behaviour. Surprisingly, urinary corticosterone metabolite (UCM) levels were comparable between calling and non-calling males. Further, calling males had higher body condition estimates than non-calling males. The vocal effort was neither associated with UTM, UCM nor BCI. However, a positive association was observed between UTM and UCM levels in calling males indicating the requirement of higher energy for advertisement. Analysis of UTM and UCM levels throughout the breeding season revealed that breeding basal of UTM was significantly higher than that of UCM. Interestingly, UCM levels were maintained at a lower threshold during the breeding season. These observations are in line with some of the predictions of EHV model.


Androgens; Body condition index; Corticosterone; Nyctibatrachus; Vocalisation

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