Arginine vasotocin interacts with the social environment to regulate advertisement calling in the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

Brian C. Trainor, Kathryn L. Rouse, Catherine A. Marler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Arginine vasotocin (AVT) has different effects on social behaviors across species with different social systems. However, less attention has been directed towards the way environmental stimuli interact with AVT to affect social behaviors. Previous work found that AVT affects the production of advertisement calls and the outcome of competitive interactions between male gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). We conducted a field study to investigate how the presence of other males in a chorus influenced the production of advertisement calls in males treated with AVT or saline. After hormone treatment we placed individuals in call sites either within 50 cm of another calling male (proximate), or more than 2 m away from any calling male (distant). Males treated with AVT produced significantly longer calls with more pulses when placed at proximate call sites, but not distant call sites. Nonsignificant trends indicated that these increases in call length coincided with a decrease in call rate. There was no effect of call site distance on advertisement calls when males were treated with saline. These results indicate that the social environment can modulate the action of AVT on an important reproductive behavior, and that AVT does not influence call duration and pulse number unless another male is nearby. Understanding how social stimuli regulate the action of AVT on behavior could provide insight on the diversity of AVT function across species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Advertisement call
  • Amphibian
  • Gray treefrog
  • Hyla versicolor
  • Social environment
  • Vasotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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