The Brazilian torrent frogs – which are native to Brazil – use ‘dancing’ motions and ‘singing’ noises to communicate, a new research finds.
In the new paper – published Wednesday (Jan. 13) in the journal PLOS ONE – the researchers stated that the frogs, known as Hylodes japi, had one of the most complex communication systems even seen in frogs: they tapped their toes, waved their legs and arms, puffed up their vocal sacs, and they also used vocal signals, such as squeaks.
The frogs live in and around noisy torrent water – which is why they are called Brazilian torrent frogs. Because the sounds the water makes are so loud, the frogs have to rely on other things as well when it comes to wooing a potential partner. For instance, the male Brazilian torrent frogs sometimes puff up their bight, whitish hue vocal sacs without making any noise – even so, that still flashes a clear signal to female frogs.
When a female is nearby, the male will puff up the vocal sac closest to the potential mate, according to the researchers. (note: Brazilian torrent frogs have two vocal sacs that they can puff up independently)
The Brazilian torrent frogs were also spotted doing complex arm and leg movements, such as waving an arm, lifting a leg, or making wave-like patterns with their toes. They would also change their posture by lowering or raising their bodies, and sometimes the frogs would even shake their heads up and down, the researchers found.
Fábio de Sá, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate at São Paulo State University (Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”) in Brazil, said that during courtship, all those motions were combined with vocal signals, like squeaks and peeps. This type of communication – in which different models are combined – is something never-before-seen in frogs, de Sá stated.
The females also responded to the males by waving their legs and arms. They interacted directly with the males, which came as a surprise to the researchers. The authors of the paper noted that there was a bimodal inter-sexual communication system between male and female Brazilian torrent frogs.
Female frogs signal Brazilian torrent males that they accept their courtship by wiggling their limbs in a certain way. When interested, they can also stimulate the males’ courtship displays and calls, according to de Sá.
Image Source: cdn. phys. org