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Frog Personalities

September 17, 2012

Tadpoles don’t lose their personalities when they turn into frogs.



Metamorphosis and personality…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A frog by any other name is still a frog, according to new research. Tadpoles live exclusively in water, but once they become frogs, they spend more time on land. So you might expect that their personalities would adapt to their new body and habitat. Not necessarily, says behavioral ecologist Alexander Wilson of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin. He tested 75 wild tadpoles for personality traits such as activity level, boldness, and response to predators. Much to his surprise, these traits didn’t change much when they matured into frogs.

ALEXANDER WILSON (Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin):

Almost all the behaviors were highly consistent . Across metamorphosis anything to do with activity and exploration were highly positively correlated.


He says the only behavior that was inconsistent between the tadpole and frog stage was the animals’ response to a simulated predator. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

For the most part, lake frog tadpoles (Rana ridibunda) keep their personalities even after they change into mature frogs. (Christian Fischer/Wikimedia Commons)