A frog call can act as both an attention grabber for mating and predators, talk about killing two birds with one stone. Male Tungara(Physalaemus pustolosus) frog, a small frog native of Central and South America, call from their puddles to gain the attention of female frogs. They start the process by perching in a shallow pound and create a distinct mating call that comes out as a series of “chuck” sounds and whines, which make ripples that garner the attention of frog-eating bats.
On Thursday, a team of researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, found that these ripples are used by other male frogs to assess their competition – and are also used by bats (Trachops cirrhous) searching for their next meal per Utah Peoples Post.
Researchers from the United States, the Netherlands and Panama joined together to study the affect of ripples on the competition among frogs and predation by local bats that eat frogs.
“Imagine the frog that’s in a pond,” a behavioral biologist Wouter Halfwerk said in a telephonic interview. “It’s like its being spied upon by some agent that is spying on your communications.”
“You try and make your love song and all of a sudden, yeah, you’re screwed because someone is listening in on your call by using a completely different communication channel and mode,” said Halfwerk, a scientist in the study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
Smithsonian scientists said the bats use echolocation, which is a natural kind of sonar, to realize these ripples and find the frog.
“Once they scan the surface, they get an enormous amount of information from these ripples,” Halfwerk said.
The team said that competing males more than twofold their frog call rate when presented with rival’s ripples and sound contrast to sound only.