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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Eric O. Thomas

First Committee Member

Steven C. Anderson

Second Committee Member

Alice S. Hunter

Third Committee Member

Craig A. Vierra


The release of reproductive pheromones from the postaxillary glands of male Hymenochirus has been postulated by several sources. Adult, female dwarf African clawed frogs (Hymenochirus curtipes Noble 1924) injected with gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) were tested for the ability to detect and show a preference to or an aversion from water housing conspecifics on the basis of chemical cues. Preference tests were done in an aquatic Y-maze apparatus at a flow rate of 14 ml/min. Each female frog was placed in the Y-maze and observed for two fifteen minute periods, during which time its movements and positions were recorded onto videotape. Females preferentially selected male-treated water or female-treated water over untreated water, suggesting an ability to recognize and seek waterborne cues emanating from conspecifics. When presented with male-treated water and female-treated water in the same trial, females did not show a preference between the two, suggesting males and females may release similar pheromones. Females were neither attracted to, nor repelled by, odors of paired male and female frogs. The positive chemotaxis demonstrated by the females towards conspecifics may indicate that conspecifics are secreting waterborne pheromones. These findings further support the hypothesis that H. curtipes releases one or more pheromone(s) which may be involved in reproductive and/or aggregating behaviors.



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