Music of the Night

Written by Tyler Parker

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day we here at the Zoo would be remiss if we didn’t talk about how amphibians find that special someone.
Amphibians are probably the most commonly heard vertebrate on the planet and this is due to the wonderful chorus that frogs and toads provide every year in the spring and summer, at least in North America.

frog blog1
Photo credit: S.D. BIJU ET AL/CEYLON JOURNAL OF SCIENCE (BIO. SCI.) 2014

Each year large groups of males congregate at perennial or vernal pools, ponds, or streams and sing for their mate. The larger the chorus of bachelor frog the more attractive it is for the ladies. Yet, even if multiple different species of frogs or toads are calling at one pond, each species of frog and toad have their own unique and identifiable call. This is how many researchers calculate populations of amphibians by listening to each individual species chorus and count the number of males calling.

This bombastic strategy isn’t the only way amphibians find their mates. Some frogs and toads are unable to call loud enough due to other noise in their environments such as fast moving streams or rivers. These frogs and toads employ the strategy of semaphoring, which is basically flagging or waving of either their front or back legs to stake claim to a territory or attract a mate.

Salamanders and caecilians utilize chemicals called pheromones to attract a potential mate.  Newts attract mates via a skin color change or a physical change in body shape often, with males developing very prominent crest or dorsal appendages.

In all, amphibians utilize a wide variety of ways to attract a special someone, yet all are unique and amazing in their own right.



Search Blog & Website
Subscribe to Houston Zoo News
Get the latest stories and updates from the Zoo in your inbox! Find out how: Houston Zoo News
Houston Zoo Facebook Page

When you pass through Natural Encounters, look up at the trees to see Succotash the sloth hanging out and enjoying an afternoon snack! ... See MoreSee Less

1

When you pass through Natural Encounters, look up at the trees to see Succotash the sloth hanging out and enjoying an afternoon snack!

Comment on Facebook

My favorite! Hubby and I caught video of him eating and moving around, once. I was so excited! Found out after that people were actually watching us, watching the sloth since we were so excited.

So glad to know he is still there. We were there a couple weeks ago and couldn't find him and didn't see his sign posted. Thought he may have passed.

That's precious!!! How long has Succotash been at the Houston Zoo ? I need to get there when the weather cools off. Anastasia Radcliff Joni Davis

Christopher Casey There. Is. A. Sloth. At. The. Zoo. Let's go, meow.

Deanne Galloway, how come we've never seen the Sloth?!?!

I saw one if these yesterday behind the counter at the USPS! Lol

Stephanie Rice Hudson.....this is the sloth that was asleep when we went to the zoo last month

No way, we have a sloth at the zoo?? never knew that! my daughter is gonna love this!!!!!!!!!!

I REALLY LOVE YOUR PICKS OF YOUR ANIMALS. CAN'T GET THERE BUT LOVE THEM. THANK YOU!!!!!

Jacob Lange Tara Widmer Jessica Trafton what is this!! i didnt know they had one?!?! 😫

It's your surprise sloth Tonya!

I did not know we have a sloth in Houston!!

Lauren! Let's go see Succotash!

Love this guy!!! Annalisa!!!

Angel Perez His name is Succotash 😂😍

Dot Voskamp Its name is Succotash. 😭❤

SLOTH. Man, I wanted to see sloths last time I was there.

Are there any pygmy Marmosets??

Love the name! :D

Lucky tree ❤

Sloth! What...can...I...do...for...you...today?

What happened to the tiny armadillo?

Miss you Ashlee!

We love to see the sloth!!!!

Oh we love to come by and check out Succotash!!

+ View more comments

We are live with Ruben Dominguez FOX 26 for Party on the Patio this morning! ... See MoreSee Less

1

We are live with Ruben Dominguez FOX 26 for Party on the Patio this morning!

Comment on Facebook

ruben is so cool, i love it when he has jobs for a day.