Habituation as a mechanism of reduced aggression between neighboring territorial male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana)

Mark A. Bee, H. Carl Gerhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Territorial animals often exhibit relatively lower levels of aggression toward familiar territorial neighbors than toward strangers. Habituation to a neighbor or its communication signals has been proposed to account for this reduced aggression between adjacent territorial neighbors. The authors asked whether discrimination between neighbors and strangers by territorial male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) could result from habituation of the aggressive response to repeated presentations of the acoustic communication signals of a simulated new neighbor calling from an adjacent territory. In 3 field playback experiments, the authors found evidence for 5 response characteristics that operationally define habituation. Moreover, aggressive response decrements persisted between nights of chorusing and were specific to an individually distinct property of male advertisement calls. The authors suggest that reduced aggression between neighboring territorial male bullfrogs could result from long-term, stimulus-specific habituation to the advertisement calls of a new neighbor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-82
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983)
Volume115
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes

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