ScienceDaily: Scientists Discover Reason Behind Ear Canal In Chinese Frog: Ultrasonic Communication

ScienceDaily: Scientists Discover Reason Behind Ear Canal In Chinese Frog: Ultrasonic Communication

Amolops tormotus, also referred to as the concave-eared torrent frog, is the first non-mammalian species found to be capable of producing and detecting ultrasounds for communication, much like dolphins, bats, and some rodents. It does so, the researchers report, to make itself heard above the din of low-frequency sounds produced in its surroundings so that it can communicate territorial information to other males of its species. In addition to helping researchers puzzle out how the ear evolved, the research may one day enable scientists to develop new strategies or technologies that help people to hear in environments in which there is a lot of background noise.

Note the conjunction in the description above: capable of producing AND detecting ultrasounds. There are rather more non-mammalian species known to be capable of perceiving ultrasound, including a number of fish species and noctuid moths. Snapping shrimp are noted producers of ultrasound, and I am suspicious that many insect species that communicate using stridulation may actually be producing some frequencies above 20kHz. In other words, I think that the torrent frog’s capability in this regard may not be all that unique, but may simply indicate that there is a lot of work left to be done in characterizing the acoustic properties of both sound production and reception in various species.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.