Taiwan's Male Frogs Use Concrete Drains to Amplify Mating Calls

First Posted: Jun 05, 2014 04:27 AM EDT

Researchers have found that frogs in Taiwan use open concrete drains to amplify their mating calls.

A team from the National Taiwan University found that the tiny mientien tree frogs known as Kurixalus diootocus, found only in Taiwan, use drainpipes to intensify their mating calls.  The mating calls produced from inside the drains have a much greater intensity of sound.

These calls from the drains had maximum power and were of longer duration compared to the calls produced by frogs in natural habitats.

These loud and long calls increase the male frog's mating chances. This finding highlights how certain animal species are abandoning their natural habitats and adapting to manmade structures to boost their mating.

"Structures, such as wall surfaces, may change the acoustic environment for signals transmitted by animals, creating novel environments that animals must either adapt to or abandon," said study authors Wen-Hao Tan, reports Discovery News.

The finding is based on a study conducted on a population of tree frogs in south eastern Taipei.

In the suburban and rural areas across Taiwan, open concrete drains are a common feature and built alongside paved roads or foot-trails. The researchers noticed that the frogs intentionally leaped into the drains and produced their mating calls. The concrete drain is referred to as miniature urban canyons by researchers.

The same behavior was noticed when researchers created a replica of the concrete drains. The male frogs opted for the drains to do their calling.

According to Discovery News, the males "selected perches inside drains that facilitated call transmission."

The finding was documented in the journal of Zoology. 

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