Female frogs play dead to avoid aggressive males, unwanted attention | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Humans aren’t the only beings that “ghost” in relationships.

When invertebrates and vertebrates fake their own deaths, it’s usually been observed as a tactic to avoid predators. Female frogs, however, are using the behavior to avoid a different kind of predator: aggressively clingy males looking to mate. 

A behavior observed in the European common female frog dubbed “tonic immobility” was detailed in a recent study  published in Royal Society Open Science.  

“Tonic immobility as a tactic to avoid mating or male harassment has only been observed in a handful of species and only in one other amphibian,” the study says.

Tonic immobility just one avoidance behavior

Common Frogs spawn in a residential pond as spring begins to make an appearance.

During mating season, several male frogs can dangerously cling onto one female at a time, which can cause distress and death to the female frog. Researchers saw three different “avoidance behaviors” which have evolved in female frogs to survive aggressive mating seasons:

  • Female frogs rotate their own body when in a mating position with other frogs.
  • Release vocal emissions, or calls.
  • Use tonic immobility when grabbed by a male, sometimes for several hours. 

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