Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wild Fact #994 - Good Vibrations

The Red-eyed Tree Frog resides in the rain forests of Central America. I believe Telus has made these frogs popular, but what animals haven't Telus made popular (I personally like the jumping goats). These frogs rely heavily on camouflage in order to survive their predators. During the day they will practice their yoga by tucking in their bright orange feet under their belly. As well, they will cover their blue sides with their legs and obviously close their bright red eyes. By remaining motionless they are able to elude any potential predators. But the question I ask is how do their newly laid eggs survive? See the red-eyed tree frog simply lays their eggs from the trees for six days before they hatch. This is almost as easy as stealing candy from a baby for the hungry snakes and wasps that feed on the eggs. As you might have guessed, these babies have a trick up their sleeve. If the eggs are attacked the embryos are able to hatch immediately (up to two days premature) and drop safely into the water below. Granted, this is a pretty impressive feat but how do the young know they are being attacked? Maybe it is a heavy wind or some light rain that is bouncing off the trees. Well, like the Beach Boys said "I'm picking up Good Vibrations" and that is exactly what these frogs do. They are able to feel the vibrations in the egg jelly. By distinguishing how often the vibrations occur and how long they last they are able to tell if it is a legitimate attack. They even react differently to different predators. For example, when a snake attacks they will all try to squirm free; however, if it is an individual wasp then only the neighbouring embryos will hatch and escape. This is a behaviour that has obviously developed over time and appears to be successful since these tiny little frogs are still getting high paying jobs doing ads for major companies.

I don't endorse Telus (or any other company) but if you want to see these tree frogs at work then check out the following YouTube video.

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