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Frog Vibrations

June 16, 2010

Some frogs communicate through vibrations.


Vibrational communication…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Animals communicate through sight, sound, touch and even chemistry. But researchers are finding that some creatures also get their point across through vibrations. Behavioral ecologist Michael Caldwell, now at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, says male red-eyed tree frogs congregate around ponds at night to call for females. But they also produce what’s called a “tremulation” signal to defend their territories from other males.

MICHAEL CALDWELL (Boston University):
The male lifts his body from the plant, and he shakes his hind end up and down by rapidly contracting and extending his hind limbs and he shakes his body about twelve times a second, and those vibrations they move into the plant, the energy enters the plant and carries along the plant to other males.

He says animals as different as elephants and insects also use vibrational signals to communicate. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.