Female European toads have special tactics to avoid mating. (Photo: The Sun)
JAKARTA – The sex life of European female frogs has attracted the attention of scientists. According to new research, females of the species Rana temporaria have a tactic to avoid mating.
European male toads are known to be explosive breeders and dozens of toads will usually gather for mating season.
Launching Live Science, Thursday (19/10/2023), that’s when six or more males try to mate with the same female frog.
This can cause chaos in the mating season which can be fatal. The researchers then noticed a pattern of female frogs trying to avoid this situation by pretending to be dead or using two other tactics.
Carolin Dittrich, a researcher at the Berlin Natural History Museum, explains the female toad’s strategy. “We found that female toads can use three key strategies to avoid males they don’t want to mate with, either because they aren’t ready to breed or don’t want to mate with a particular male,” he said.
A study of the sex lives of these toads has been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The results describe female mate avoidance behavior in toads, which generally occurs in Europe. Three female avoidance behaviors, in the form of rotation, release calls and total silence, aka pretending to be dead.
This experiment involved dozens of frogs from a pond and observing them in a tank. A total of two females and one male were placed in each tank.
One-third of female toads will stretch their limbs and become immobile when they mate. Others make sounds or flip over so the male toad drowns and has to release his grip.
The researchers found that smaller females were more likely to do so. Only 46 percent of the toads managed to avoid unwanted approaches. Scientists hope research like this can help in conservation efforts.