Chinese frog that squeaks like a mouse
Thursday 16 March 2006
A frog that sings like a bird has been found to have another unusual trait - it can communicate in high-pitched squeaks that are inaudible to the human ear.
The frog lives in the fast-moving streams and waterfalls of east-central China and uses ultrasonic calls to make itself heard above the noise of running water.
It is the first time that an animal other than a bat, marine mammal or a rodent has been found to be capable of producing and hearing high-frequency sound.
Scientists found some years ago that the concave-eared torrent frog emits ultrasounds but the latest study, published in the journal Nature, shows the sounds are used as calls rather than being a by-product of other vocalisations.
The human ear cannot hear sounds with frequencies higher than 20 kilohertz but the frog has been recorded emitting sounds higher than 128kH which can carry above the noise of splashing water.
"Nature has a way of evolving mechanisms to facilitate communication in very adverse situations," said Professor Albert Feng of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"One of the ways is to shift the frequencies beyond the spectrum of background noise. Mammals such as bats, whales and dolphins do this, and use ultrasound for their sonar system and communication," he said.
The frog - Amolops tormotus - has an unusually recessed ear canal which protects a thin and delicate eardrum that can detect high-frequency sounds, Professor Feng said. "Thin eardrums are needed for detection of ultrasound. Recessed ears shorten the path between eardrums and the ear, enabling the transmission of ultrasound to the ears," he said.
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Scotland independence vote: Everything you ever wanted to know about life after the result
Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Dorset named best place to retire in England and Wales
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...