Tree Frogs in Thailand Fasten Life Cylce When Eggs are Preyed Upon

First Posted: Sep 05, 2014 06:33 AM EDT

Researchers for the first time have documented that tree frogs speed up their life cycle when their eggs are preyed upon.

It is always believed that life cycles of animals take place consistently, as per the rhythm of nature. But in the latest study researchers at the National University of Singapore, found that nature is flexible than previously thought.  They have proved this by documenting the example of environmentally cued hatching among the Southeast Asian amphibians.

The study reveals how Hansen's tree frog (Chiromantis hansenae) fasten's its life cycle in order to hatch earlier once they eggs become prey for others. Found mainly in Thailand and regions of Cambodia, the eggs of Hansen's tree frog can be seen on plants overhanging seasonal pools. 

But just about they are ready to be hatched, the entire mass of egg gets detached from the plants and fall into the water pool below.  On being detached, the hatchlings immediately come out of the mass of egg. Though the process looks simple, it needs apt timing.

"Both young and old Hansen's tree frog embryos are able to hatch earlier when disturbed," said Sinlan Poo from the National University of Singapore.

"Hatching is a plastic or flexible event in the life cycle of this frog, because its embryos are able to respond to acute signals, such as predation, by escaping into the next life-stage," David Bickford of the National University of Singapore said in a news release.

They researchers conducted the study at open air laboratory and kept the frogs in glass aquariums and used time-lapse camera to monitor the results of 70 clutches. They noticed that the hatchlings emerged earlier when the gelatinous mass was disturbed and was left untouched.

The finding was documented in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

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