Stellar communication is especially important when mating season comes around. Males defend small territories hoping to find eager mates, and also to advertise their availability, they stand tall on their own front legs, showing their chests in most their tangerine glory, and calling out. The calls they make—two to 6 minute pulsing buzzes—were presumed to assist direct female frogs for them.
Now, scientists have found that there is a reason the calls appeared somewhat sporadic: the frogs can’t hear them.
And it is not entirely obvious how these small orange frogs wound up by doing this. They enjoy spending their days crawling concerning the moist leaf litter of Brazilian montane Atlantic seaside forests. Despite their cheeto coloring, they’re difficult to place among the muck from the forest floor—so it might seem sensible to talk with sounds.
Since other people from the genus have completely functional inner ears, the authors claim that high-frequency calls really are a remnant behavior—the first illustration of vestigial seem communication.
“We haven’t seen this before,” stated Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, an affiliate professor in the College of Southern Denmark and co-author from the new paper, in an announcement. The lines of evidence were pretty conclusive: “These frogs make sounds they cannot hear themselves.”