Female frogs resort to fake their deaths to avoid unwanted attention from male frogs. A study by researchers from the Natural History Museum of Berlin sheds new light on the European common frog, suggesting that females frogs do not want to put up with male frogs trying to mate with them, which can sometimes lead to the female’s death, according to The Guardian.
When male frogs want to mate the male grasps the female around the torso with his forelimbs and fertilizes the eggs as they emerge. But he doesn’t wait until she tells him that she is ready to mate, he grabs the female and clings to her for hours, days or even months before she is ready to mate and she has to carry him around with her on a daily basis.
The researchers found that females in these dense breeding aggregations are not passive as previously thought. They placed each male frog in a box with two females: one large and one small. The mating behavior was then recorded on video. The results revealed that 83% of females gripped by a male tried rotating their body trying to get the males to let go, while 48% emitted release calls such as grunts and squeaks, and all of whom also rotated their body.
When trying to get the male frogs to let go of them does not work, 33% of all female frogs resorted to tonic immobility; stiffening their arms and legs outstretched in a pose reminiscent of playing dead while also rolling and screaming.
The three tactics allowed at least some females to evade the clutches of the males. “Displaying of mate avoidance behavior resulted in the escape of 25 females”. The researchers acknowledge the behaviors may have other purposes, suggesting that while female rotations may help them dislodge a male, it could be a way to test the male’s strength and endurance.
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