Female frogs can become distracted from noise generated by vehicles and end up selecting the wrong males. This, in turn, can have serious repercussions onreproduction of the species and population survival of frogs living human-dominated urban habitats, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia broadcast ‘unattractive’ and ‘attractive’ sounds by male Eastern Sedge frogs to females, once with background traffic noise and once without it.
Eastern Sedge frogs are found in suburban ponds stretching from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales, apress statement by the university said.
The females were drawn towards the unattractive calls when there was traffic noise in the background, the researchers found.
This was especially worrying, they said, since the quality of a female frog’s offspring depended on choosing the right mate. In the case of the Eastern Sedge frog, the female did this by choosing the males who made high pitched and fast sounds. This required males to be in excellent health and having the best genes.
The reasons for the poor choices by female Eastern Sedge frogs were unclear, the researchers said. But they could have been made due to increased stress caused by the vehicular noise. This, the scientist said, might have affected the females’ ability to make good mating decisions.
More research was needed to know how anthropogenic factors were playing a role in altering soundscapes on which frogs’ mating success depended, the researchers said.
Frogs were already facing immense pressure globally due to disease, habitat loss and other factors.
In recent years, the amphibian chytrid fungus has attacked several frog species. It attacks the amphibians’ skins through which it breathes, drinks and performs a number of other functions.
The study was published in the scientific journal Acta Ethologica August 5, 2021.
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