Do Female Frogs Call?
In frog species, typically male frogs call while females stay silent. In the smooth guardian frog of Borneo (Limnonectes palavanensis) this is not the case as female frogs call too! This discovery suggests that L. palavanensis exhibits a reversal in calling behavior and possibly a sex-role-reversed mating system, which would be the first ever observed in a frog species.
This video was produced as part of the Young Scientist Series, a competition run by iBiology in collaboration with the Lasker Foundation and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, in which advanced PhD students and postdocs give talks about their research and discoveries.
See this talk on the iBiology website, along with those of other Young Scientist Series winners at: https://www.ibiology.org/ecology/frogs-call/
Calling Repertoire of the Smooth Guardian Frog of Borneo
In most frogs, males produce calls with a particular objective in mind: finding a mate. Usually, males call, and females silently choose among the available calling males. In general, frog vocalizations are unique for every species as it serves as a species-specific recognition signal. In that way, females can find the males of their own species.
In the smooth guardian frog (Limnonectes palavanensis), males produce a loud long-range call to attract females (advertisement call). Remarkably, females also produce calls, but these are soft short-range vocalizations. Males sometimes respond to the calling females with a particular call, different from the long-range advertisement call. This short “quack” produced by the smooth guardian frog’s males seems to function as a courtship call. This video is the electronic supplementary material of our paper describing the vocal repertoire of the guardian frog of Borneo.
Media and Press Coverage
- GeoBeats, Inc: Tiny tadpoles climb on daddy for piggyback ride (July 2020)
- FrogLife.org: Croaking Science: Female communication in anurans: duets, ultrasonic calls and sex-role reversal (August 2019)
- The Shape of The World Podcast: When the girl frog sings (May 2019)
- National Geographic en Español: Padrazos donde los haya (April 2019)
- National Geographic España: Los padrazos del mundo de los anfibios (March 2019)
- AmphibiaWeb.org: Amphibian News! (re: Goyes Vallejos et al. 2018)
- The New York Times: Devoted Dads of the Amphibian World (December 2018)
- KU Today: Extraordinary 'faithful father' revealed by study of smooth guardian frog of Borneo (December 2018)
- AmphibiaWeb.org : Amphibian News! (re: Goyes Vallejos et al. 2017)
- Science Magazine: These female frogs are the first of their kind to croon to their guys (June 2017)
- Science & Vie: Chez la grenouille de Bornéo, c'est madame qui chante (June 2017)
- UBD News: Devoted Dads: Why Some Male Frogs Care For Their Young (December 2014)