Female Frogs Favour Multitasking Males, Study


Female gray tree frogs belonging to the species 'Hyla chrysosceli' prefer to mate with multitasking males, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota. The study is published in the August issue of the journal 'Animal Behavior.'

The study supports the 'multitasking hypothesis' which suggests that females prefer males who can accomplish two or more hard tasks at the same time.

In this species, males produce 'trilled' mating calls that have a string of pulses. A typical call duration ranges from 20-40 pulses per call and 5-15 calls per minute.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after examining recordings of 1,000 mating calls. They tested two main components of the female mating requirement- Call rate (the number of calls) and call duration (the length of the call). They found that females preferred males who had a higher call effort (a combination of both call rate and call duration).

"It's kind of like singing and dancing at the same time," said Jessica Ward, lead study author and a postdoctoral researcher at the university.

The scientists also found that the males either altered their call rate or call duration in a competitive environment, but maintained their call effort. This further proves that the call rate or the call duration, individually, does not affect a male's attractiveness to the female.

"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.

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