After 5 years of scientific studies in the Caribbean of Costa Rica, a group of researchers discovered that the female flying frog Ecnomiohyla sukia emits a song or makes an unusual vocalization to attract males for reproductive purposes. The investigation was carried out in the Sarapiquí area, specifically within the Rainforest Adventures del Braulio Carrillo park (RFA), where other conservation projects are developed.
According to Stanley Salazar, an empirical herpetologist, the finding is particular and unusual. This occurs because the female frogs are not the ones that vocalize, despite having mouth chords, but the males are the ones who emit the sounds of reproduction. “To date, the vocalization of the female of this species, which is endemic to Costa Rica, had never been documented and described”, said Salazar.
They are similar to males
He explained that the research was published last June in the scientific journal Anartia, edited by the Museum of Biology of the University of Zulia, Venezuela. In this it is described that the call of the female of the flying frog shares the same structure and a series of tonal notes and even of similar duration to the call of the male.
For Salazar, one of the functions of the female song is to facilitate the location of the males. He determined that their song stimulates an increase in calls from nearby males. “Usually, the frogs are found around some body of water, like a lagoon or pond, which makes it easier for the females to see where the males are. However, this species lives in trees, above 3 meters above the ground, which may explain this unusual behavior”, said Salazar.
Bark and branches
He added that the study detected female vocalizations in the barks of tree trunks and branches, as well as surrounding vegetation in the forest canopy (the highest part of the trees). For their part, males have only been seen calling from within and around reproductive tree holes.
“Rainforest Adventures is very proud to have contributed to this scientific discovery. In our parks we seek to bring science closer to the community through tourism activities that promote knowledge, care and preservation of natural heritage and the environment, raising awareness and promoting respect and value for nature”, stated the manager General Nicholas Staton.
In addition to Salazar, who is Costa Rican, Andrés Camilo Montes Correa, an expert in bioacoustics of Colombian origin, and César L. Barrio-Amorós, a Spaniard and herpetologist by profession, collaborated in the study.