Communication is a two-way street, and a new study that focuses on the female perspective and especially on the frog population solidifies the same. The animal world has its own secrets and wonders which come to light from time to time thanks to the back-breaking work done by researchers, ecologists and others associated with its science.
According to The Atlantic report, a new study reveals how female frogs adapt to noisy mating calls emitted by their male counterparts and how their lungs that help them to home in on potential mates. Ponds and streams are literal breeding grounds for most of the frog species and these pools are also among the noisiest places where these amphibians congregate to woo their mates.
As most of the spots are home to hundreds of males from over a dozen of their own species and each belting out a croak that can register more than 100 decibels a piece. While such intense sounds can induce a loss of hearing among humans, as many frog researchers vouch for and often wear earplugs to minimise the noise. However, amidst the cacophony of croaks and croons, female frogs with a simple pair of lungs can identify and choose the come-hither calls from their male counterparts.
According to a study led Norman Lee of ST. Olaf College in Minnesota. The female frog’s remarkable lungs when inflated reduce sensitivity on their eardrum that in turn help them to cancel out irrelevant background noise, including the sound of other frog species.
Lee further explained that what their lungs are doing is called ‘spectral contrast enhancement’ and that is due to the frequencies in the spectrum of a male's call stand out relative to noise at adjacent frequencies. Lee’s team believes that the frog's lungs are basically noise-cancelling headphones that also happen to oxygenate the blood.
It's long been known to researchers that such croaking signals are key to reproduction in most frogs and they have been studying the open floor plan of frog ears since the late 1980s were amazed to discover that the lungs were likely sending vibrations up to the amphibians’ head. But at the same time the same bizarre connection has also dodged researchers’ minds for decades.
However, further studies and analysis of the data suggest a different explanation. While the state of the lungs' inflation had no effect on directional hearing, there was a considerable impact on the sensitivity of the eardrum.