To Mate, This Frog and Her Sex Partners Work Up a Lather

The female gray foam-nest tree frog increases her odds of reproducing by mating with multiple males and bubble-wrapping her eggs.

These frogs put the “group” in “group sex”—and that helps them thrive.

Of all vertebrates, gray foam-nest tree frogs exhibit the most extreme form of simultaneous polyandry, or a female mating with multiple males, says behavioral ecologist Phillip Byrne of the University of Wollongong in Australia.

After a heavy rain swells pools in the African landscape, male frogs gather in poolside vegetation and call for mates, while females in the pools absorb water through their skin. When she’s hydrated enough, a female heads for an overhanging branch. En route she is amplexed—gripped in a sexual embrace—by a male.

Read This Next

These ants can shrink and regrow their brains

How to stop discarded face masks from polluting the planet

‘Tiger King’ stars’ face scrutiny in court

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet