Crooning in the concrete jungle: Taiwan's frogs use drains to amplify mating calls

June 4, 2014

As our cities continue to grow many animal species have to choose to abandon their changing habitats or adapt to their new setting. In Taiwan the tiny mientien tree frog (Kurixalus diootocus) is making the most of its new situation by using city storm drains to amplify mating calls.

Writing in the Journal of Zoology, Dr. Y. Kirk Lin and a team from the National Taiwan University studied a population of tree frogs in south eastern Taipei.

Open concrete drains are a common feature in suburban and rural areas across Taiwan and are usually built alongside paved roads or foot-trails. The team found that these miniature urban canyons are being sought out by the frogs to boost their mating chances.

The team found that frog calls emitted from inside drains had greater intensity of sound, in both average and maximum power, and a longer duration than calls produced in natural upland habitats.

Explore further: Frogs use calls to find mates with matching chromosomes

More information: Tan, Wen-Hao; Tsai, Chen-Gia; Lin, Chieh; Lin, Kirk, 'Urban canyon effect: storm drains enhance call characteristics of the Mientien tree frog', Journal of Zoology, DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12154

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