New research found that female gray tree frogs prefer to mate with males that can effectively multitask, as evidenced by a study of mating calls. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
A new study found that female frogs choose their mates based on a characteristic that many humans also find desirable in a partner-being efficient and good at multitasking.
After studying the mating calls that male gray tree frogs use to woo their mates, researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that female gray tree frogs prefer to mate with males that can effectively multitask by producing long, rapidly pulsating mating calls at a frequent rate, reports HNGN.
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Typical mating calls for this frog species known as the Hyla chrysosceli have a duration of 20-40 pulses per call and anywhere from five to 15 calls per minute. Male frogs face a tradeoff between call rate and duration. But the research shows that the females prefer mating calls that are longer and more frequent. By no means is this a simple task.
"It's kind of like singing and dancing at the same time," said lead study author Jessica Ward, reports Nature World News.
Ward explained that the results of the study supported the hypothesis which suggests that females prefer mates that can juggle more than one complicated task at a time, something seen as a desirable quality in males.
By listening to recordings of 1,000 mating calls, Ward and her colleagues learned that males which produce longer calls only do so at shorter rates.
"It's easy to imagine that we humans might also prefer multitasking partners, such as someone who can successfully earn a good income, cook dinner, manage the finances and get the kids to soccer practice on time," Ward said.
The study, which is published in the journal Animal Behavior, was part of Ward's larger research goal of understanding how female frogs are able to distinguish between individual mating calls amid a chorus of multiple males vying for their attention.