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Female frogs fake their own deaths to avoid unwanted male interaction, study says


Dating can consist of great communication, spotty here-and-there texts or even “ghosting” — in which people ignore each other to end a relationship. 

Now comes a study about female frogs — and revelations about how the amphibians take “ghosting” to the next level in their world by playing dead to avoid unwanted male interactions. 

A recent study published in The Royal Society Open Science journal focused on male and female European common frogs to see whether the females avoided the males in different situations.

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The researchers tested various avoidance behaviors by the female frogs — including rotating, release calls and tonic immobility, according to The Royal Society.

Rotating was defined as a “female starting to rotate around her own body axis when amplexed by a male.”

two frogs

The new study looked at how female frogs reacted to male frogs when the males tried to approach.  (iStock)

Amplexus is defined as the “mating embrace of some amphibians,” according to Merriam-Webster.

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Release calls were defined as “when the female is amplexed by the male, and she begins to call” — making a certain noise.

Green frog

The study found that female frogs reacted in a variety of ways when males pursued them. (iStock)

Tonic immobility is the stiffening of a female: The frog will stretch out her arms and legs and act as if she’s dead. 

The researchers found that rotating was the most common method of avoidance by the 54 females studied — with 83% of them using that avoidance method, according to the study.

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Release calls were done by 48% of the females — and were always associated with rotating as well. 

The study also found that tonic immobility, or playing dead, occurred among 33% of the female frogs in combination with both rotating and calling. 

Green frog

Some of the reaction tactics for female frogs included tonic immobility — which is essentially when they play dead. (iStock)

It was also determined that a smaller female frog size was associated with all three tactics, as the study reported. 

Researchers began the study in 2019 when they collected the frogs. 

The completed study was released in Oct. 2023. 

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The research was part of the Natural History Museum Berlin. 

The study indicated that male frogs may harass, coerce or intimidate females into mating.

Fox News Digital reached out to those who submitted the study for further comment. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.



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