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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More