Frogs continue to mate with the wrong things

Two years ago, Juan Diaz Ricorte was hiking in the mountains of Brazil when a male yellow curry toad stuck to his shoes. Diaz Riccorte gently turned off the frog and put it back on the ground, a few feet away. Without hesitation, he turned around and wrapped his wings around his shoe again. “It was very focused on catching Juan’s shoes,” said Filipe Serrano, a fellow biologist with Diaz Ricorte who witnessed the meeting. It seemed that the frog had confused Diaz Ricorte’s shoes with a “potential mate” and kept coming back to squeeze it again. Little Lotario, Serrano said, “will not let it go.”

Serrano or Diaz Ricorte, in a sense, could not either. The toad test was finally over, but in the following months, two researchers at the University of Sao Paulo were unable to decipher the incident. It was not the toad, or the shoes, or even the doomed union between the two. Frog mating, commonly known as amplexus, usually involves locking a male to a female և It is not uncommon for too many applicants to mishandle. hug They told me that the couple was left with the possibility that these unfortunate events, which they had both heard of before, could become more frequent as the frogs try to navigate the increasingly fragmented world. Scientists call it that evolutionary trap. “The environment is changing, they are making more mistakes,” said Ulrika Kandolin, a biologist at the University of Helsinki. The temperature is rising; settlements are being destroyed; Animals are forced to mingle with new and unfamiliar species. Sex, for some species it looks like it will definitely hit.

Serrano և Diaz Ricorte and his partner Marcio Martins began searching for the past stories of frog hugs that are officially called. misdirected hug. They found about 400, a whole group of frogs soaking up the things they could almost never conceive of. coconut, mango և apple; geckos, turtles, fish և slugs; balls, rulers և plastic cups; և even cow’s trick. The summary makes it clear that Randy frogs can sometimes seriously deceive themselves.

What is not clear, however, is why. Misdirected amplex is not always a cause for concern. A little arrogance can actually be done on a single frog, especially in species that mate only a few nights a year, or in populations where females are particularly rare. “Men will just go for what they can get,” says California wildlife biologist Liz Lopez, who has: studied the misdirected amplex. Firm hugs are an ideal way to put males in the right place at the right time when their mates lay eggs. they can deter other applicants trying to get in their way. Serrano calls it a “clasp first, then ask questions” strategy. It is much better to rob too much, to make a mistake, than to give in to shyness, and in the end to remain completely sexless. There are even rare cases when the sexual bite turns out quite well. necrophilia, which actually led to: Extraction of viable eggs ավորում fertilization; Interspecific associations that in some circumstances a more adapted generation will be born than clinging to its own kind.

However, there are too many mistakes և Frogs can get into trouble quickly. Each mistake marks a missed opportunity – time spent finding a more suitable partner and then partnering with him or her. Some males will cling to their mate for weeks, even months, refuse meals all the time. “It’s very expensive,” he said. who studied the complex. (Men who accidentally catch other males will sometimes make a protesting noise that forces them to release them: dead frogs and apples, however, can not make such warning calls.) A long clasp in the open can make stray males more vulnerable. “Predators and diseases,” Diaz Ricorte told me.

So there is a danger in the complex that often goes south. Which he could very easily do in today’s fast-paced world. Expensive real estate, on which frogs live and mate, is becoming less and less. Carvajal Castro notes that some species that live in drier environments, for example, can only mate after rainy seasons fill local ponds. events that become more diffuse as climate change accelerates. So are the frogs struggling to listen և: respond: the murmurs of potential mates և the bells in the growing urban noise. Hungry frogs from suitable mates can start looking elsewhere. And as humans continue to encroach on wildlife, frogs are no doubt more likely to interact with new species or even unfamiliar objects, which may distract them from better prospects. Candolin, from the University of Helsinki, was watching: It is this catastrophe that occurs with male European worms, which are sometimes seduced by bright females with similar garden lights. “They fly around the lights instead of mating or multiplying, they die there,” he told me.

If that’s the case with frogs now, the Serrano և Diaz Ricaurte’s confused database will not be able to prove it. To actually substantiate climate change or habitat disruption with amplexus, researchers must slowly, systematically track frog mating over time while monitoring local environmental conditions. they should compare amphibian populations between sites և try to find out which ones have seen the most sexual success. Most of the cases in the database, on the contrary, were recorded by chance by a select group of people who accidentally discovered a failed frog. “There’s a lot of potential for bias,” said Karin Pfenig, a frog biologist at Chapel Hill University in North Carolina.

However, Serrano is interested in the evidence that the team saw during the search, during which the researchers “tried to report as much as possible on each observation – air temperature, precipitation, altitude,” he told me. There: have There have been numerous reports of misdirected amplitude in degraded habitats, many of them have It has happened in recent years. One recent study even suggested that climate change could cause some European toads to drown with the wrong species. And there is something to be said about the presence of variegated human attributes in the database that frogs would not otherwise interact with. Just ask an American toddler swimming with a tennis ball in Virginia Park in 2007.

The growth of a misdirected amplexus is something that many scientists can easily miss. The natural tendency, Lopez told me, is just to think. Oh, that’s weird և move forward. But it is worth looking at that phenomenon more closely, he said, especially taking into account “all the other stressors on amphibians at the moment,” including: deadly fungal outbreaks և dried ponds. Wrong sex is the last thing frogs should add to their list of misfortunes.

Sex տը The act of its origin are fundamental to the existence of any frog. “People often think these events are wrong, they are ignored,” Pfenig told me. “No one thinks of putting them in a broader context.” The database is a starting point. the core of something that can become bigger, perhaps more powerful, inspire bigger, bolder projects to find solutions to the problem. The misdirected amplex can become a kind of early bell tower, delimiting endangered populations. it can warn researchers about the species on the edge.

If the misdirected amplitude in frogs is really increased by humans, this will not be the first time people have started mating with other species. Birds confused by road noise fought listen to their friends’ songs. The fish is flowing chemical contaminantswhich can interfere social signals, selected non-optimal partners. Beetles, tempted by the brown sheen of textured glass, have tried to lay down the beer bottles In the west of Australia. It may seem strange, even voyeuristic, to look at these inappropriate acts of love. But sex is a serious business, people owe it to their neighbors to look good and long from time to time.

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