Monday, February 15, 2010

First Monogamous Frog Found

Photo courtesy: ghastly152

While there are some well-known cases of monogamy in animals - swans, wolves, beavers, and the Malagasy Jumping Rat. However, frogs have long been considered among the most promiscuous of animals mating with whoever happens to be handy at the time. Now a new BBC documentary reveals that at least one species of frog mates with one partner for life. So, what is the secret that keeps these guys and girls together for life?

The frogs, Ranitomeya imitator (Mimic Poison Frog), native to Peru, were discovered to be monogamous. A series of paternity tests were conducted to determine how the frogs raise their offspring; and, the proof of the monogamy was in the DNA.

The female lays her eggs on a leaf; and, the male collects the individual tadpoles as they hatch. He tenderly moves each tadpole to its own private reservoir of water where it can grow and develop in safety. These tiny tadpole-sized water basins are collected rainwater found in the crevices of leaves high above the forest floor. When the tadpoles need food, the males informs his mate who then deposits an unfertilized egg into each pool for her young to eat.

Wow!! This sounds like love, doesn't it? Well, it's not according to scientists. Researchers claim this unique cooperation between the male and the female for the benefit of their offspring is what makes them so inseparable - not love.

Biologist Jason Brown told the BBC:

"This is the first discovery of a truly monogamous frog."

Brown and his team performed genetic tests on twelve of these frogs and found that eleven were completely loyal to their partner. Personally, I was not surprised to find that the lone frog caught "cheating" on its mate was male.

Via TreeHugger and BBC News(written in Portuguese)

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