Scientists Discover Screaming Tadpole
Sound saves frog larvae from being cannibalized
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2010 8:44 AM CDT
Researchers say they were astonished to find that the Argentine horned frog, not known for being a picky eater, declined to eat tadpoles of its own species.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Scientists studying the calls of adult Argentine horned frogs were amazed to discover that the species' larvae also make sounds—screams even, reports the Independent. The tadpole's scream is a "brief, clear and very audible metallic-like sound," say researchers. They believe the distress calls save the tadpoles from being cannibalized by adults of their species, which is known for its willingness to eat anything it can, including other kinds of frogs.

This is the first time underwater larvae or any vertebrate larvae have been known to make sounds, the BBC notes. The researchers believe the discovery has wide-reaching implications for the understanding of amphibian behavior. "We have definitely underestimated their abilities," says the lead researcher, who now plans to study how other tadpoles respond to the sound.