The Evoked Vocal Response of the Bullfrog: A Study of Communication by Sound
The research attempts to bridge the existing gap between the naturalistic observations of sound communication in anurans and the anatomical and physiological findings in their auditory nervous system. The motivation for this research concerns the author's interest in the neural representation of complex meaningful sounds - stimuli for which the nervous system is presumably designed to process. Such a representation, although suggested by electrophysiological recordings of patterns of activity in various neural centers, requires a behavioral confirmation that these, in fact, are the principles by which information is processed within the intact animal. To this end, vocal behavior has been evoked from the males of laboratory colonies of bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) in response to a restricted class of natural and synthetic sounds. The evoked vocal responses, having the signal characteristics of the bullfrog's mating call, were highly selective. To playbacks of the mating calls of 34 different species of frogs and toads, only the mating calls of certain male bullfrogs would evoke calling from the laboratory animals. By employing a standardized experimental technique, quantitative measures of evoked calling have been obtained for a large number of synthesized bullfrog mating calls.
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