Glucocorticoids, androgens, testis mass, and the energetics of vocalization in breeding male frogs

Sharon B. Emerson, David L. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Male advertisement vocalization in frogs is known to be one of the energetically most expensive activities of ectothermic vertebrates. Glucocorticoids have marked effects on energy metabolism, and, generally, plasma concentrations of glucocorticoids increase during the course of prolonged exercise bouts. Androgen concentrations are also known to vary considerably among breeding male frogs. Intraspecific and interspecific comparisons were used to test for a relationship among androgen concentration, corticosterone concentration, testis mass, and the energetics of vocalization in natural populations of calling male frogs. The results of this study indicate that: (1) intraspecific variation in androgen and corticosteroid concentrations in breeding male frogs is positively correlated as a result of both interindividual variation in the amount of performed vocalization and the relationship between calling effort of an individual male and the level of calling in other males, (2) interspecific variation in corticosteroid concentration of calling male frogs is correlated with the relative energy expended in the species-specific vocalization, and (3) when differences in testis mass are controlled for, vocalization effort is correlated with androgen concentration among species of breeding male frogs. These findings are in contrast to some recent work reported from laboratory experiments on calling frogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphibian
  • Androgens
  • Corticosterone
  • Energetics
  • Testis mass
  • Vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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