Natural Science

published : 2023-10-13

Female Frogs' Astonishing Tactics to Avoid Unwanted Male Attention

Study Reveals How Female Frogs take 'Ghosting' to the Next Level

A stunning image of a female frog displaying tonic immobility, taken with a Nikon D850.

Dating can sometimes involve sporadic communication, occasional texts, or even the extreme act of 'ghosting' to end a relationship.

But now, a fascinating study uncovers a whole new level of 'ghosting' in the animal kingdom - female frogs playing dead to avoid unwanted male interactions.

Researchers conducted a recent study on male and female European common frogs to investigate how females avoid males in different situations.

The study, published in The Royal Society Open Science journal, examined various avoidance behaviors displayed by female frogs, including rotating, release calls, and tonic immobility.

Rotating was defined as a female frog starting to rotate around her own body axis when a male tried to mate with her.

Release calls were when the female, during mating embrace with the male, began to make specific noise.

A close-up shot of a male European common frog attempting to approach a female frog, captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Tonic immobility, on the other hand, was the female frog's way of stiffening her body, stretching out her limbs, and acting as if she were dead.

The researchers observed how female frogs reacted to male advances and found that rotating was the most common avoidance method used by the 54 females studied, with 83% of them employing this tactic.

Furthermore, release calls were utilized by 48% of the female frogs and were frequently accompanied by rotating.

Surprisingly, tonic immobility, or 'playing dead,' was observed in 33% of the female frogs, often in combination with both rotating and calling.

The study also revealed that smaller female frogs tended to employ all three tactics, indicating a correlation between size and avoidance behavior.

The research, initiated in 2019 with the collection of these frogs, was completed in October 2023 under the Natural History Museum Berlin.

An aerial view of the Natural History Museum Berlin, where the research on female frog behavior was conducted, photographed using a Sony A7 III.

This study shed light on the potential harassment, coercion, or intimidation endured by female frogs from their male counterparts in the pursuit of mating.

The findings have sparked interest and further analysis, and experts in the field were reached out to for additional commentary.

This captivating study not only provides a fascinating glimpse into the behavior of female frogs but also raises broader questions about gender dynamics and courtship in the animal kingdom.

It serves as a reminder that the complex world of animal behavior continues to astound us and reveal extraordinary survival strategies.

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