Arginine vasotocin induces calling behavior with a female social stimulus and interacts with gonadotropins to affect sexual behaviors in male Xenopus tropicalis

Robert A. Miranda, Brian T. Searcy, Catherine R Propper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Arginine vasotocin (AVT) and the mammalian homologue, arginine vasopressin (AVP), modulate vertebrate social behaviors, including vocalizations in male anurans. To study the impact of AVT and social stimuli on calling in male Xenopus tropicalis, we injected males with vehicle, 1 μg, or 10 μg AVT and recorded vocalizations under four social contexts (no stimulus, with male call playback, with a female, and with call playback and a female). More males called when injected with 10 μg AVT. Furthermore, calling males called only when paired with a female. We identified four call types: long fast trill; short fast trill; slow trill; or click. Next, we injected males with vehicle, 10. μg, or 20. μg AVT and recorded vocalizations with or without a female. AVT treatment did not affect calling in this experiment, but we confirmed that more males, regardless of AVT treatment, called when a female was present. Then we evaluated the effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) on male sexual behavior. 20. IU hCG elevated behavior compared to controls while the 10. IU hCG treatment group was not different from either treatment. Last, we examined the effect of AVT on hCG-induced reproductive behavior. Males were injected with 10. IU hCG or with 10. IU hCG and 20. μg AVT. Males receiving hCG and AVT clasped and called significantly more than males receiving hCG only. Our results suggest that AVT and a female stimulus induce vocalizations in a male pipid anuran, X. tropicalis, and the interaction between gonadotropins and neurohormones influences reproductive behaviors in this anuran amphibian.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015



  • Arginine vasopressin
  • Arginine vasotocin
  • Communication
  • Gonadotropin
  • Reproduction
  • Xenopus tropicalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy

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