Based on the observations, life is not easy for the frogs. Males frequently must battle over long periods for coveted females. When they do win their mate of choice, one or both frogs sometimes fall into water while they are trying to mate, abruptly interrupting the moment. Such activities usually happen at night on overhanging vegetation.
According to the new study, males begin the mating process by calling from the ground. Once the female of choice is located, the male may travel up to 20 feet into the vegetation. Courtship at that point begins with the female crawling forward and sitting on the male's head.
The male then straddles over her back with his limbs holding or resting on substrates such as a leaf, branch or tree trunk. At that point, he releases sperm onto her back and then moves away. Shortly thereafter, the female lays several eggs. The sperm on her back trickles down, fertilizing the eggs.
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This "dorsal straddle" move was not the only discovery made during the research. The scientists determined, and verified with recordings, that females of this species produce calls. The findings add Bombay night frogs to the 25 other species of frogs known to have vocalizing females. Biju said less than .5% of female frogs do this, making the behavior very rare.
"Even in our study," he added, "female calling was observed only briefly and on just four occasions over a total of 40 nights in the field, compared to the almost permanent presence of male advertisement calls."
He suspects that the frogs might have trouble finding each other, given the nighttime mating, slip ups of falling into water, dense vegetation and other challenges that this determined species must face.
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