First monogamous amphibian discovered in South America

February 23rd, 2010 - 12:16 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 23 (ANI): Scientists have discovered the first monogamous amphibian living in the rainforest of South America.

According to BBC News, the finding was made by biologist Dr Jason Brown, then of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, along with colleagues Dr Victor Morales and Professor Kyle Summers.

Genetic tests have revealed that male and females of one species of Peruvian poison frog remain utterly faithful.

More surprising is the discovery that just one thing - the size of the pools of water in which they lay their tadpoles - prevents the frogs from straying.

That constitutes the best evidence yet documented that monogamy can have a single cause, according to scientists.

“This is the first discovery of a truly monogamous amphibian,” said Dr Jason Brown.

The monogamous frog species Ranitomeya imitator, known as the mimic poison frog, is already known to science.

In recent years, Dr Brown and his colleagues have extensively studied many of its habits.

After mating, a female mimic poison frog lays her eggs on the surface of leaves.

The male frog then takes away the tadpoles that hatch, carrying them one by one on his back to pools of water which collect in bromeliad leaves high up in the branches of trees.

Each of half a dozen babies are put into their own tiny pool, which he then looks after.

When the tadpoles become hungry, the male calls to his female partner who arrives to lay a non-fertile egg in each pool, which the tadpole eats as food.

But while the male and female frogs appear to act in unison, new experiments have revealed the extent of their fidelity.

Many animals appear to be monogamous, with males and females forming pairs that can often last a lifetime.

But the recent explosion in genetic analyses has revealed many of these so-called monogamous relationships to be a sham.

While many animals might stay together and breed, they will often sneak off and cheat on their partners when they get a chance.

So Dr Brown and his colleagues decided to check out the mimic poison frog more closely.

They sampled the DNA of many pairs of adult frogs, and the subsequent generations of tadpoles they produced.

Of 12 frog families, 11 had males and females that remained continually faithful to one another, together producing all their offspring.

That makes the mimic poison frog the first confirmed monogamous amphibian. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |