Auditory brainstem responses in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis): Effects of frequency, level, sex and size

Katrina M. Schrode, Nathan P. Buerkle, Elizabeth F. Brittan-Powell, Mark A. Bee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of the hearing abilities of frogs and toads is largely defined by work with a few well-studied species. One way to further advance comparative work on anuran hearing would be greater use of minimally invasive electrophysiological measures, such as the auditory brainstem response (ABR). This study used the ABR evoked by tones and clicks to investigate hearing in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). The objectives were to characterize the effects of sound frequency, sound pressure level, and subject sex and body size on ABRs. The ABR in gray treefrogs bore striking resemblance to ABRs measured in other animals. As stimulus level increased, ABR amplitude increased and latency decreased, and for responses to tones, these effects depended on stimulus frequency. Frequency-dependent differences in ABRs were correlated with expected differences in the tuning of two sensory end organs in the anuran inner ear (the amphibian and basilar papillae). The ABR audiogram indicated two frequency regions of increased sensitivity corresponding to the expected tuning of the two papillae. Overall, there was no effect of subject size and only small effects related to subject sex. Together, these results indicate the ABR is an effective method to study audition in anurans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-238
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Alejandro Vélez for helpful feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript, Justin Becknell for the illustration in Fig. 1, Madeleine Linck, Don Pereira, and Ed Quinn for access to study sites and collection permissions, and many undergraduate students for help collecting frogs. We also thank Ed Smith for programming. This work was supported by the National Institutes Health in the form of R01 DC009582 to author M. A. Bee at the University of Minnesota, P30 DC004664 to R. J. Dooling at the University of Maryland and T32 NS048944 to T. J. Ebner at the University of Minnesota.


  • Audiogram
  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Communication
  • Gray treefrog
  • Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Auditory brainstem responses in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis): Effects of frequency, level, sex and size'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this