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Ultrasonic ribbits, saving dead trees and fishy retribution in this week’s news

3:46pm, June 22, 2011

Did I just ribbit?
In the unfolding story of China’s ultrasonic frogs, it appears that females cannot hear the high-frequency zest of their own flirtations. The concave-eared frogs were reported in 2006 to court using chirps including high squeak components that carried above the low roar of mountain streams where the frogs live. Research showed that males’ ears may be adapted to such high serenades. Now tests of female response to recordings as well as measurements of female brain reactions suggest that during evolution females have come to make, but not hear, the ultrasonic component of their own sweet nothings, researchers in China say in the June 15 Nature Communications. —Susan Milius

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