A love song straight from your ... cells?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Singing the right song is only half the battle for a male tree frog wooing a female. The other half? Having the right number of chromosomes.
So say Carl Gerhardt and Mitch Tucker of the University of Missouri, who studied two very similar species of tree frogs: eastern grey frogs and Cope's grey frogs.
To the naked eye, they look exactly alike. Only difference? The number of chromosomes in their cells.
The eastern grey has 48--twice the number of the Cope's. And that difference can be heard in the frogs' love croaks.
Gerhardt and Tucker say more chromosomes mean larger cells--you need more space to pack 'em in! And bigger cells lead to a slower trill rate--that is, a frog that sings slower.
To prove this, female tree frogs were exposed to man-made frog calls. When released, the females hopped to the sounds from males whose chromosome numbers matched theirs.
I'm guessing it's true what they say: Different croaks for different amphibians.
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