Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disease Threat May Change How Frogs Mate

Date:
August 31, 2009
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
A disease may be causing a behavioral change in frogs. The research has unearthed a surprising fact about our long-tongued friends: wild frogs in the UK may be changing their mating behavior.

Dr Amber Teacher, studying a post-doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London, has discovered evidence that a disease may be causing a behavioural change in frogs. The research, published in the August edition of ‘Molecular Ecology’, has unearthed a surprising fact about our long-tongued friends: wild frogs in the UK may be changing their mating behaviour.

Related Articles


Dr Teacher conducted her research with colleagues from the Institute of Zoology and Queen Mary, University of London. The research followed concerns over the survival of wild frog populations in the UK. Ranavirus, which had its first reported case in England in the early 1980s, is one of many pathogens ravaging the amphibian community.

Dr Teacher’s pioneering new research looks at the genetic make-up of populations, and indicates that wild frog populations that have been infected with this virus may be choosing mates differently to those in healthy populations.

As Ranavirus is typically associated with heavy death tolls in infected populations, there are often few frogs left alive to mate. This frequently leads to inbreeding, which causes an increase in relatedness in the population. However, Dr Teacher has uncovered startling results; finding that despite inbreeding there has been no subsequent increase in relatedness in these populations.

Dr Teacher’s conclusion is that this lack of relatedness has been caused by a change in the frogs’ mating strategy. With diseased frogs struggling to mate, healthy frogs are likely to be mating more often with other healthy frogs, leaving diseased frogs to mate with each other. These frogs could also be selecting mates based on their Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) type; a group of genes directly involved with the animal’s immune system. As the common frog is generally thought to mate randomly, this is a major shift in the frogs’ mating behaviour.

Active mate choice based on MHC type is not uncommon in other species, with research indicating that a number of vertebrates, including humans, may use it to choose prospective mates, and improve their immunity to diseases.

‘The situation requires directed behavioural research’, says Dr Teacher. This discovery could re-shape the way we look at disease management in animals. If such behavioural effects from diseases are widespread, it is likely they have been overlooked in the past, meaning we may be forced to reconsider how such diseases impact on animals. Whilst Ranavirus has been researched in specific relation to population dynamics, Dr Teacher has exposed previously unknown effects that require further investigation.

Dr Teacher believes the next step is to observe these wild frogs over the coming years. ‘The world of wildlife disease research would benefit greatly from such long-term investigations, allowing us to see how the host and the pathogen respond to each other over time’, ‘It would also shed further light on whether Ranavirus does indeed cause observable behavioural changes’, she explains. Further research may also bring us closer to knowing if this new mating strategy could lead to wild frogs in the UK developing immunity to Ranavirus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Teacher et al. Population genetic patterns suggest a behavioural change in wild common frogs (Rana temporaria) following disease outbreaks (Ranavirus). Molecular Ecology, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04263.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Disease Threat May Change How Frogs Mate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727080834.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2009, August 31). Disease Threat May Change How Frogs Mate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727080834.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Disease Threat May Change How Frogs Mate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727080834.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins