The American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) utilizes alarm pheromones to communicate most prominently in the larval stages of life (Chivers et al 1999). This is also a developing subject of study on adult A. americanus and other anurans (Woodley 2010). This method of communication between adult A. americanus, in regards to danger, was the objective of our study. We collected A. americanus and coaxed them into urinating in a jar with toilet paper and then put them in the experimental tank (one side had toilet paper with toad urine, and the other side had toilet paper with tap water). A different toad was then measured, sexed, and placed in a container with a hole on top and allowed two minutes to acclimate in the tank. The container was then lifted, and the toad’s behavior and distance traveled was recorded during a two-minute period. After running a two proportion t-test, the results showed that A. americanus did not prefer water over the urine of a distressed conspecific. A Chi-square test was performed which showed that there was not a significant difference in the distance traveled away from the urine between large and small A. americanus. Another Chi-square test was done and showed that there was no difference in the distance traveled away from the urine between male and female A. americanus. The results of our study do not allow us to draw any significant conclusions in regards to the presence of alarm pheromones in the urine of adult A. americanus.
Neyra Benoit, Ben Czapranski, Dwight Hospedales, Justin LaCorte, "Session D, 2016 Third Place: The Response of American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) to The Urine of Distressed Conspecifics" (2016). Cranberry Lake Biological Station. 17.