ABS 2022
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In sync for Infants: Behavioral and Hormonal Signatures of Care in Biparental Poison Frogs
Billie C. Goolsby, Marc Soong, Lauren A. O'Connell. Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, United States

 Parental coordination occurs when mothers and fathers allocate distinct tasks to provide care to their offspring. One major challenge is how parents interpret offspring signals differently, but must synchronize their behavioral outputs to make care decisions. To understand how parents synchronize their behaviors, we studied the parental efforts of the biparental Mimetic Poison Frog Ranitomeya imitator. First, we analyzed how moms and dads use acoustic communication to coordinate care of their tadpoles and tested which tadpole signals correlate to parental care effort through continuous monitoring of tadpole nurseries through cameras and acoustic recordings. Our preliminary data suggest that males may use calls to mediate female behaviors, such as nursery homing and egg-provisioning for infants. We are currently quantifying circulating levels of steroid hormones of parents during varying stages of parenting to determine which androgens are elevated or lowered at specific parental care tasks. Together, these data suggest that interparent synchronization may be mediated by hormone levels and acoustic signaling, and that parental responsiveness depends on infant signal.