Mating Signals Indicating Sexual Receptiveness Induce Unique Spatio-Temporal EEG Theta Patterns in an Anuran Species

PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e52364. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052364. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Female mate choice is of importance for individual fitness as well as a determining factor in genetic diversity and speciation. Nevertheless relatively little is known about how females process information acquired from males during mate selection. In the Emei music frog, Babina daunchina, males normally call from hidden burrows and females in the reproductive stage prefer male calls produced from inside burrows compared with ones from outside burrows. The present study evaluated changes in electroencephalogram (EEG) power output in four frequency bands induced by male courtship vocalizations on both sides of the telencephalon and mesencephalon in females. The results show that (1) both the values of left hemispheric theta relative power and global lateralization in the theta band are modulated by the sexual attractiveness of the acoustic stimulus in the reproductive stage, suggesting the theta oscillation is closely correlated with processing information associated with mate choice; (2) mean relative power in the beta band is significantly greater in the mesencephalon than the left telencephalon, regardless of reproductive status or the biological significance of signals, indicating it is associated with processing acoustic features and (3) relative power in the delta and alpha bands are not affected by reproductive status or acoustic stimuli. The results imply that EEG power in the theta and beta bands reflect different information processing mechanisms related to vocal recognition and auditory perception in anurans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Anura / physiology*
  • Beta Rhythm / physiology
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*

Grant support

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31270042 to Jianguo Cui, 2011CB707803 to Dezhong Yao), and the Ministry of Education of China (the “111” Project) to Dezhong Yao. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.