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Frog sex in the city: Urban tungara frogs are sexier than forest frogs

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
December 10, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

In Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute report that male tungara frogs in Panama City put on sexier mating displays than frogs living in nearby tropical forests. “Tungara frogs sound a bit like pinball machines,” said Wouter Halfwerk, assistant professor at Vrije University in Amsterdam, and visiting scientist at STRI. “To their simple tun sound, they can add extra elements like the sound, gara, to make complex calls: tun gara gara—hence their name. Some people call tiny tungara frogs the acoustic equivalents of peacocks. They are nothing to look at, but just like male peacocks have fancy tails to attract females, tungara frogs add extra sounds to their calls to lure females in.”

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