Alligators 'burst into songs to form singles clubs!'

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Oct 21 (ANI): Birds and frogs are well known for their singing abilities. And alligators are no less - they too burst into songs.

But this crooning is not meant for serenading mates, rather the reptiles use it to form singles clubs, a new study has found.

Chinese alligators are among the most vocal crocodilians, and their thunderous, seemingly tone-deaf chorus is no laughing matter.

"It sounds like thunder and can travel a long distance," National Geographic News quoted study co-author Xianyan Wang, a Wuhan-based hydrobiologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences as saying.

Initially, Wang thought the Chinese alligator song might be a way for individual males to attract females-generally the case when it comes to animal tunes, and thus his team recorded the songs of males and females of the specie.

The team then played the calls to captive alligators of different genders, one by one, in a water-filled testing arena at the semiwild Anhui Research Center for Chinese Alligator Reproduction in the city of Xuancheng (map).

While researchers had expected females to draw closer to the speaker that was playing recordings of males, to their surprise, however, males and females reacted the same way to the calls of either gender.

All the alligators stayed put, and about 75 percent of the alligators joined the recorded song.

This response suggests that alligators don't sing to compete for prospective mates, according to the study.

But because the choruses increase during mating season, Wang said, they must have something to do with sex.

Maybe, he suggested, the singing is a way of detecting other alligators in the area so mating groups can be formed-a kind of reptilian romantic-networking system.

And to confirm the theory, Wang is now planning to test alligators in the wild and to study alligator singing outside of mating season, when, presumably, the songs are about something other than seduction.

The findings of the study will be published in the latest issue of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. (ANI)

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