This little piggyback killed my rival

Published May 10, 2020

If a tree frog calls out for a mate, a predator is just as likely to hear it as the little hottie in the other tree. So what’s a lonely frog to do? He’ll piggyback his calls — time them to just barely overlap with another frog’s.

By overlapping their calls at nearly perfect synchrony with neighboring treefrogs, an auditory illusion takes effect and those enemies are more attracted to the leading call, leaving the other frogs to find mates without risking their life.

How so? It’s called the ‘Precedence Effect.’ If you hear two sounds in quick succession, your brain will tell you that they’re both coming from the same location — the location of the first sound. So not only is he calling to a mate, he’s directing predators to his competition. Sneaky!

Tags: , , ,