Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In tiny Amazon frogs, males observed extracting oocytes from females killed in mating struggles

Date:
February 18, 2013
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Sex is a risky business for many animals. Those who take part in 'explosive breeding' -- where many males gather and compete for a small number of females over a few days -- have it particularly tough. Males can become exhausted from the competition and search for a scarce mate, or from trying to dislodge other males from receptive females. The females themselves can be unintentionally crushed, drowned or simply exhausted under the weight of their many suitors.

Sex is a risky business for many animals. Those who take part in 'explosive breeding' -- where many males gather and compete for a small number of females over a few days -- have it particularly tough. Males can become exhausted from the competition and search for a scarce mate, or from trying to dislodge other males from receptive females. The females themselves can be unintentionally crushed, drowned or simply exhausted under the weight of their many suitors.

Related Articles


But now scientists have discovered that the tiny Central Amazonian frog Rhinella proboscidea has developed an effective, if unsavoury, way of making the most out explosive breeding despite its inherent dangers. Writing in a recent issue of the Journal of Natural History, Brazilian researchers have observed the frog indulging in what they call a 'functional necrophilia strategy'. In other words, males of the species have been observed extracting oocytes from the abdomens of unfortunate females killed in mating struggles, and then fertilizing them.

While unpleasant from a human viewpoint, from an evolutionary perspective taking advantage of oocytes from dead females minimises the losses both partners can experience as a result of explosive breeding. The male is able to breed successfully despite not having had access to a live female or expending too much energy in the battle to secure one; the female's eggs are fertilised even though she herself has expired. The existence of this strategy also suggests that there may be possible selection in favour of stronger and more persistent males in explosive breeders; these sorts of males may be not be advantageous to the females themselves -- and indeed their determined behaviour can often kill them -- but the 'functional necrophilia' strategy ensures that the species continues despite a lack of live females.

The authors write that 'although necrophilia has been reported in other species of anurans, this may be the first case where the necrophilia brings a direct fitness gain, generating descendants. In contrast to the conclusions of other studies, necrophilia is not a behavioural mistake in R. proboscidea, but is rather a functional behaviour in terms of fitness, with positive effects on the reproductive success of both males and females.' This study is a fascinating glimpse into a species' struggle to survive under the rain-forest canopy -- however strange it might seem to us.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T.J. Izzo, D.J. Rodrigues, M. Menin, A.P. Lima & W.E. Magnusson. Functional necrophilia: a profitable anuran reproductive strategy? Journal of Natural History, 2012; 46 (47-48): 2961-2967 DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2012.724720

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "In tiny Amazon frogs, males observed extracting oocytes from females killed in mating struggles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092507.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2013, February 18). In tiny Amazon frogs, males observed extracting oocytes from females killed in mating struggles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092507.htm
Taylor & Francis. "In tiny Amazon frogs, males observed extracting oocytes from females killed in mating struggles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092507.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
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