How Female Frogs Get Tricked Into Choosing An "Ugly" Mate
Picking the right wingman could make or break the chances for a less desirable male túngara frog to find a mate, a new study says.
For the female túngara frog, a low-pitched, fast-singing male is music to her ears.
But a new study shows that males with less desirable songs aren’t completely out of luck: They can trick a female into choosing them as mates by serenading her next to an even less attractive male.
Tiny, mud-colored natives of Central America, túngara frogs are well known for their outsized vocal abilities and ballooning vocal sacs: Their songs, meant to attract females, can sometimes unwittingly catch the attention of hungry bats.
The amphibians are onomatopoetically named for the sound they make, which starts out with a whining tung and ends with a croaking gara. (See "What Can Sexy Robot Frogs Teach Us About Evolution?")
“The calls, they