Female toads 'grow fat' to thwart unwanted mates!

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Washington, July 11 (ANI): A new study has revealed that female toads can thwart unwanted suitors by simply inflating their bodies.

The female toad, when grasped by its unwanted male counterpart, inflates itself so that the rival males can throw off the unwanted one, scientists found.

"Our study shows that females can exert mate choice by inflating their bodies," Live Science quoted lead author Bas Bruning, an ecologist at Vrije University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as saying.

Competition in mating seasons is tough. Males gather at suitable water holes and jump on any female when she approaches.

They then battle each other for the best or - ideally for one of them - the sole amplexus position - mounting a female's back and gripping her by the armpits.

The scientists conducted an experiment with two groups of male and female frogs - one in which the females could inflate and the other in which they couldn't.

"We found the number of male takeovers is much higher when females can inflate than when they cannot," Bruning said.

For now, it is not known whether avoiding being dinner or being "taken advantage of" came first for the female cane toad. But the fact that body inflation is so widespread in frogs and toads offers a clue, Brodie said.

These creatures have existed much longer than snakes because snakes must swallow their prey whole.

Therefore, "it follows that inflation may have first evolved as mate choice and been co-opted for predator defense," Brodie said. (ANI)

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