Integrative and Comparative Biology
Multimodal communication is common in the animal kingdom. It occurs when animals display by stimulating two or more receiver sensory systems, and often arises when selection favors multiple ways to send messages to conspecifics. Mechanisms of multimodal display behavior are poorly understood, particularly with respect to how animals coordinate the production of different signals. One important question is whether all components in a multimodal display share an underlying physiological basis, or whether different components are regulated independently. We investigated the influence of androgen receptors (ARs) on the production of both visual and vocal signal components in the multimodal display repertoire of the Bornean rock frog (Staurois parvus). To assess the role of AR in signal production, we treated reproductively active adult males with the antiandrogen flutamide (FLUT) and measured the performance of each component signal in the multimodal display. Our results show that blocking AR inhibited the production of multiple visual signals, including a conspicuous visual signal known as the foot flag, which is produced by rotating the hind limb above the body. However, FLUT treatment caused no measurable change in vocal signaling behavior, or in the frequency or fine temporal properties of males calls. Our study, therefore, suggests that activation of AR is not a physiological prerequisite to the coordination of multiple signals, in that it either does not regulate all signaling behaviors in a male s display repertoire or it does so only in a context-dependent manner.
© The Author(s) 2021.
Smith, Sarah M.; Eigerman, Amelia R.; Lecure, Kerry M.; Kironde, Eseza; Privett-Mendoza, Auxenia Grace; Fuxjager, Matthew J.; Preininger, Doris; and Mangiamele, Lisa A., "Androgen Receptor Modulates Multimodal Displays in the Bornean Rock Frog (Staurois parvus)" (2021). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.