Small frogs 'cheat' to get sex

London, Tue, 16 Oct 2012 ANI

London, Oct 16 (ANI): Smaller treefrogs are more likely to "cheat" their way to a mate by lurking near the sound of an attractive call, rather than calling more frequently than their larger rivals, scientists have revealed.

The team of French scientists from the University of Lyon studied the response of differently sized European treefrogs to a chorus of mating calls, the BBC reported.

The research suggested that these tactics were mainly caused due to the intrinsic disadvantage of being small.

For the study, the scientists took 100 differently sized male European tree frogs from ponds outside Lyon, France.

After flushing out their stomachs, half of the frogs were fed bluebottles and house crickets, while the other half was starved for a week.

The frogs were then put in a makeshift pond and the sound of both "attractive" and "unattractive" calls from their own population was played to them through loudspeakers.

"Attractive" calls had a different amplitude and were more frequently made during each round of calling.

The frogs responded to the chorus by either calling back, remaining near the sound, or doing nothing.

The study found that smaller males were more likely to "cheat."

According to Loic Brepson, PhD student in behavioural ecology at the University of Lyon, there has been much scientific interest in what role alternative reproductive tactics such as these "parasitic tactics" might play.

"Some individuals exploit the investment made by other individuals in reproduction, sometimes leading to great behavioural and/or morphological differences between individuals using the two tactics," he said.

"The adoption of one or the other tactic basically depends on the costs/benefits balance that each individual can expect when using one or the other tactic," he added.

The study is published in the journal Animal Behaviour. (ANI)

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