How best to attack a frog being a bat:

Some times the ways we gain our knowledge are intricate: In Nature this week there was an article about fructose-1,6-bisphatase (FBP1) and its role in renal carcinoma which caught my eyes. But today I will not tell this story which is highly interesting mostly for the reason this enzym is essential in normal renal metabolism and inhibits cancers, but fall back to a comment in the same edition “Wooing frogs are bat bait” about a paper in The Journal of Experimental Biology “Risks of multimodal signaling: bat predators attend to dynamic motion in frog sexual displays” which is unfortunately not online.

It is about the tungaro frog (Engystomops pustulosus) and its predator, the fringe-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus). It was known before that the bat hunts tungaro frogs. The author Wouter Halfwerk in Panama and his team wanted to know whether the bat is going after the remarkable vocal sac of the frog or its calls. They did not use living frog for this task but dummy frogs which had a vocal sac blowing out and called or dummy frogs which just called. The bats attacked preferentially the dummies with a vocal sac which were calling. I have asked the author for the paper and he sent it to me.

I find the issue interesting for several reason. These are tiny frog (3 cm in size) otherwise the bats which are just 7 to 8 cm long would not be able to catch them and fly away with them. The bats use their optical and echolocation cues to locate male frogs unless European bats which use mostly echolocation. And the third why this is interesting (and found its way in Nature) there is the tremendous risk involved being a male frog and call for a women. You might be caught by a bat before you succeed to copulate. It would be interesting to know whether selection is against the most proud callers and the most foolish that way.

The subject gives you ideas.

Read also the Inside JEB by Kathryn Knight which is free with a picture of the Robofrog.

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