News / Science & Technology

Multitasking Frogs Make Better Mates

Female gray frogs prefer male multi-taskers as mates. (Geoff Gallice via Creative Commons/Flickr)
Female gray frogs prefer male multi-taskers as mates. (Geoff Gallice via Creative Commons/Flickr)
Rick Pantaleo
Researchers in Minnesota studying Cope’s Gray tree frogs - Hyla chrysoscelis – now have a better idea of how female frogs select their mates.
  
It turns out that the females of this species prefer their male mates be capable of multitasking, those who can perform two or more difficult tasks at the same time.  Displaying this ability shows that the male frog of the species is of higher quality compared to those who aren’t able to multitask so easily.
 
The female frogs pick up on the male’s abilities to multitask by their calls.
 
The male gray tree frog produces "trilled" mating calls that are made up of a string of pulses. Each of their calls can range from 20 to 40 of these pulses and there are five to 15 of these calls per minute.
 
Most male frogs can either perform longer or more frequent calls, but being able to do both can be difficult. But the females prefer males who can do both, perform longer and more frequent calls.
 
"It’s kind of like singing and dancing at the same time," says Jessica Ward, a researcher at the University of Minnesota who is lead author for the study.
 
The study, published in August issue of Animal Behavior, backs up the multi-tasking theory, which suggests that females prefer multi-tasking males.
 
Ward says that this multi-tasking theory, which has considered how a male’s multiple mating signals affects female behavior, is a new area of interest in animal behavior research.
 
By listening to the recordings of 1,000 frog calls, the researchers were able to determine that males often trade-off the duration of their calls for frequency and vice-versa. In other words, the guys were able to perform either relatively longer calls at slower rates or more frequent calls that were shorter in duration.
 
"It's easy to imagine that we humans might also prefer multi-tasking partners, such as someone who can successfully earn a good income, cook dinner, manage the finances and get the kids to soccer practice on time,” said Ward.
 
The study by Ward and her colleagues was done as part of larger research project that is being conducted by Mark Bee, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. The goal of Bee’s research is to get an understanding of how female frogs are able to tell apart one male’s individual mating call from a cacophony of sound produced by a large chorus of male frogs.
 
With humans, especially as we get older, we lose our ability to distinguish individual voices in a crowd, something that is at times referred to as the "cocktail party effect”. Doctors and hearing specialists often look at this as the first sign of hearing loss. The researchers who are involved with these studies feel that improved hearing aids could be developed by better understanding how frogs hear.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cranksy from: USA
August 20, 2013 2:07 PM
So, I should stop looking ONLY for a MILF at a cocktail party?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid