Seasonal changes in frequency tuning and temporal processing in single neurons in the frog auditory midbrain

Jozien B.M. Goense, Albert S. Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frogs rely on acoustic signaling to detect, discriminate, and localize mates. In the temperate zone, reproduction occurs in the spring, when frogs emerge from hibernation and engage in acoustically guided behaviors. In response to the species mating call, males typically show evoked vocal responses or other territorial behaviors, and females show phonotactic responses. Because of their strong seasonal behavior, it is possible that the frog auditory system also displays seasonal variation, as evidenced in their vocal control system. This hypothesis was tested in male Northern leopard frogs by evaluating the response characteristics of single neurons in the torus semicircularis (TS; a homolog of the inferior colliculus) to a synthetic mating call at different times of the year. We found that TS neurons displayed a seasonal change in frequency tuning and temporal properties. Frequency tuning shifted from a predominance of TS units sensitive to intermediate frequencies (700-1200 Hz) in the winter, to low frequencies (100-600 Hz) in the summer. In winter and early spring, most TS neurons showed poor, or weak, time locking to the envelope of the amplitude-modulated synthetic call, whereas in late spring and early summer the majority of TS neurons showed robust time-locked responses. These seasonal differences indicate that neural coding by auditory midbrain neurons in the Northern leopard frog is subject to seasonal fluctuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Anurans
  • Auditory plasticity
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Season
  • Temporal processing
  • Torus semicircularis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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