The development of sexual behavior in túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus)

J Comp Psychol. 2010 Feb;124(1):66-80. doi: 10.1037/a0017227.


We examined the emergence of a critical component of sex, response to sexual signals-phonotaxis-in male and female túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus). We determined the ontogenetic trajectories of phonotactic responses as animals developed from metamorphic froglets to reproductive adults. The results demonstrated that species-typical phonotaxis emerges quite early during postmetamorphic development, well before sexual maturity, suggesting that a developmentally early bias in the auditory system for species-typical signals might be a more general phenomenon than previously thought, and that the neural circuits responsible for processing and responding to conspecific advertisement signals in a species-typical manner might develop long before the coordinated behavior is demanded of the organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / growth & development*
  • Anura / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Developmental Biology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology