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Females Prefer Males that can Multitask

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Aug 17, 2013 03:11 AM EDT
Gray treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis
Gray treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis. Location: Durham, North Carolina, United States. (The visually identical Hyla versicolor is not reported from this area. Reference: Bernard S. Martof et al. (1980). Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (Photo : Patrick Coin / wikimedia commons)

Female frogs choose to mate with males that can multitask, a new study reported.

The study supports the multitasking hypothesis, according to which females prefer males that can manage many tasks at a time.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota who found that male frogs belonging to the species Hyla chrysoscelis, produce a mating call that has a string of pulses. Hyla chrysoscelis or the gray treefrog species is native to North America.

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Usually the frogs' mating call duration lasts for about 20 to 40 pulses per call. These frogs can produce calls at an average of 5-15 calls a minute.

For the study, researchers listened to 1,000 mating calls. They found that male frogs that tend to make longer mating calls make fewer calls per minute. Female frogs tend to choose males that can deliver more mating calls per minute.

"It's kind of like singing and dancing at the same time," said Jessica Ward, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author for the study.

According to the scientists, the "multitasking hypothesis" holds true for humans too.

"It's easy to imagine that we humans might also prefer multitasking partners, such as someone who can successfully earn a good income, cook dinner, manage the finances and get the kids to soccer practice on time," Ward said in a news release.

The study is published in the journal Animal Behavior.

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