Researcher discovers new 'amphibians

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Researcher discovers new 'amphibians
Researcher discovers new 'amphibians

Researcher Discovers New 'Amphibian Language'

"Hupf in' Gatsch und schlag' a Wöll'n" ("Jump into the mud and make waves") - this is how an Austrian zoologist sums up the strategy he discovered in male mountain toads, which amphibians use to mark their territory. The animals communicate using water waves, telling their fellows about their individual strength, territorial boundaries, and level of combat readiness. This was discovered by the scientist Bernhard Seidel from the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the Institute of Zoology at the University of Vienna during studies in the Waldviertel. "The toads, four to five centimeters in size, hit the surface of the water with their webbed feet spread out," explained Seidel. The concentric circles, which then spread out in the pond, decode the competitors with the vestibular organ, the sense of balance in the ear. The competitors in the "survival of the fittest" would be kept away from good mating and spawning sites. "This is particularly important for successful reproduction," said the researcher.

Frogs of the genus Bombina, which include the native toads, have by far the most sensitive vestibulo-motor reflexes among amphibians. Seidel: "Your balance organ has a performance ten times greater than that of the representatives of the rest of the frog world." This fact has been used in the past for experiments in the Russian space station Mir and in special aircraft, in which 20 to 30 seconds of weightlessness can be simulated. The effects of gravity on the evolution of living beings have been studied in this way.

Frogs are interesting research objects because they were the first animals on our planet to "leave the water," according to the evolutionary biologist. Scientists from Canada and Japan have already shown interest in the Unken research in the Waldviertel in order to possibly gain new insights for further experiments in the Space Station Alpha, Mir's successor.

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