Scientists have heard for the first time how the “mute” toad from Ecuador sings

(ORDO NEWS) — Since the discovery of this amphibian, it was believed that it could not make sounds.

The Ecuadorian toad Rhinella festae, which until recently was considered “dumb”, can sing. This amazing discovery was made by the biologist Jorge Brito: he was walking through the forest and heard a sound that he first mistook for the chirping of a cricket. But it turned out that it was emitted by a toad.

“The unique song was recorded for the first time – and this is surprising, since the Ecuadorian toad should not sing,” Ecuadorian biologist Diego Batallas told reporters.

The amphibian, discovered 100 years ago, lives in the mountainous Ecuadorian regions of Kutuku and Condor, stretching across the border into the Amazonian part of Peru. The toad is distinguished by a brown color and a protruding nose, and its length ranges from 45 to 68 mm.

Rhinella festae was considered “mute” because it lacks a vocal sac: it is this that allows most amphibians to amplify the audibility of their cries so much that they are heard up to a distance of one kilometer around. Filled with air, the vocal sacs inflate and serve as resonators for the vocal apparatus.

“The fact that Rhinella festae can sing without a vocal sac makes this species unique,” ​​said Batallas.
The biologist suggested that the Ecuadorian toad specifically learned to make exactly weak sounds in the course of evolution, thus protecting itself from predators. According to Batallas, amphibians “did not need their song to be heard far away.”

It is also curious that for most species of toads, croaking is part of the mating ritual or a warning. However, the Ecuadorian toad can make this sound as a greeting – it is very thin, almost indistinguishable against the background of ordinary tropical polyphony.

A total of 658 different species of amphibians have been recorded in Ecuador. 623 of them are toads and frogs, almost 60% of which are endangered.

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