Roar of traffic drowns out frogs' love croaks

Saturday 22 August 2009 00:00 BST

Traffic noise could be ruining the sex lives of urban frogs by drowning out the seductive croaks of amorous males, according to an Australian researcher.

A well-projected and energetic croak is the male frog's most important asset in the quest to attract mates to his pond, said a Melbourne University ecologist, Kirsten Parris. But competition from traffic noise in Melbourne could be why frog numbers have declined in Australia's second-largest city since her survey of more than 100 ponds began in 2000, she said. "If there are a number of different males calling, the one that sounds the best often gets the girl," said Dr Parris. "You have to be pretty clear about your assets if you're a male frog." Dr Parris found the distance at which a frog suitor can be heard by a potential mate is slashed by city noise.

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