Female preferences for the spectral content of advertisement calls in Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Saumya Gupta, Mark A. Bee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Amphibians have inner ears with two sensory papillae tuned to different frequency ranges of airborne sounds. In frogs, male advertisement calls possess distinct spectral components that match the tuning of one or both sensory papillae. Female preferences for the spectral content of advertisement calls can depend on signal amplitude and can vary among closely related lineages. In this study of Cope’s gray tree frog (Hyla chrysoscelis), we investigated the amplitude dependence of female preferences for the spectral content of male advertisement calls, which have a “bimodal” spectrum with separate low-frequency (1.25 kHz) and high-frequency (2.5 kHz) components. In two-alternative choice tests, females generally preferred synthetic calls with bimodal spectra over “unimodal” calls having only one of the two spectral components. They also preferred unimodal calls with a high-frequency component over one with the low-frequency component. With few exceptions, preferences were largely independent of amplitude across both a 30 dB range of overall signal amplitude and an 11 dB range in the relative amplitudes of the two spectral components. We discuss these results in the context of evolutionary lability in female preferences for the spectral content of advertisement calls in North American tree frogs in the genus Hyla.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We honor the memory of Albert Feng for the inspiration that his rich contributions to anuran auditory neuroethology has been to both of us. We thank A. Averbeck, A. Baugh, X. Blanks, M. Dahl, A. Dick, C. Fouilloux, Z. Fu, G. Gallo, S. Gray-Gaillard, O. Groth, A. Hartman, D. Hechter, R. Hoffer, K. Hoiseth, C. Jensen, L. Kalra, K. LaBarbera, N. Lee, H. Li, C. Liu, A. Lockhart, S. Maddox, B. Marshall, J. Massop, E. Mueller, M. Paruzynski, J. Rieck, A. Ruppert, S. Silver, A. Stockstad, Y-F. Tan, C. Thom, M. Vellicolungara, M. Vipond, and J. Wu for their help in collecting and testing frogs, and J. Moriarty from the Three Rivers Park District and M. Goodnature from Ramsey County Parks and Recreation for generous access to collection sites.

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by grants to MAB from the National Science Foundation (IOS-1452831 and IOS-2022253) and by grants and fellowships to SG from the University of Minnesota Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, the Bell Museum of Natural History, and the University of Minnesota Graduate School.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Acoustic communication
  • Sensory perception
  • Signal recognition
  • Spectral processing
  • Vocal communication

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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