Sexual Selection in Frogs and Toads

Spring time is here and that means that male frogs and toads are coming out to try to find a mate. There are many ways that frogs try to attract the females and I will explain them.

photo by United States Department of Agriculture

The most common way frogs and toad attract mates is with breeding calls. Breeding calls are the best way to attract mates because sound travels farther than any other cues. The ¬†Common Coqui frog’s (Eleutherodactylus coqui) call is¬†hundred decibels from three feet away which makes it the loudest amphibian and also as loud as a lawn mower. Males can either call by themselves or group together to form a group to make calls in ponds or lakes. The males with the deepest croaks and best territories usually get the best females to mate with.


Male frogs from the family Micrixalidae are known as the dancing frogs because of the weird foot movements they used to attract mates. This behavior is called “foot flagging”. It’s more of a dance that twerking.

Indian Bullfrog by ZME Science

Another way males attract the females is having bright colors. The male Indian Bull frogs (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) change their skin color during the mating season to impress the girls (pictured above).

Moor Frog photo by Christian Fischer

The Moor frog (Rana arvalis) is an example of another frog that changes colors for males. Other frogs just keep their color difference all year round. American Bull Frogs (Rana catesbeianus) and Green Frogs (Rana clamitans) have a a nice yellow throat. It is pictured below.


African Bullfrogs (Pyxicephalus adspersus)

Last way males try to attract females is fighting. Males fight it out and the winner proves they are the best mate for the females. The Emei Moustache Toad actually grows out a moustache that they use to battle other males with.

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