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'Robo-frog' - the robotic romeo who gets the girl

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 - 01:17

Dec. 6 - A robotic male frog has helped researchers unveil the mysterious nocturnal mating habits of Panama's tungara frog. 'Robo-frog' was recruited to woo potential mates and shed light on the species' romantic rituals. Jim Drury reports.

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UPSOT: TUNGARA 'CHUCKING' A female tungara frog leaps into action, attracted by the sight and sound of a male's mating call.... UPSOT: TUNGARA 'CHUCKING' She finds the combination of his love song and pumping vocal sac extremely seductive . What she doesn't know however, is that this romantic romeo... is a robot. Called Robo-frog, it was programmed by US biologists Ryan Taylor and Michael Ryan to do what they found impossible to do with a real frog in the Panamian wild - test amphibian courtship rituals. The robot is equipped with a thick urinary catheter to replicate the sac. A nearby remote-controlled speaker pipes through a recorded mating call. UPSOT: TUNGARA 'CHUCKING' The vast majority of females found the coordinated sound and sight of Robo-frog difficult to resist. But then, the researchers altered the timing of his call. For the ladies, it was like a bucket of cold water. The magic was lost, and it couldn't be rekindled. Taylor and Ryan say the research demonstrates that the success of courtship depends on both the sight and sound of the mating call, working in a coordinated fashion... Proving that, like humans, the tungara frog has to look good and sound good to get the girl.

'Robo-frog' - the robotic romeo who gets the girl

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 - 01:17

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