The multimodal signal of male túngara frogs can be both visual and acoustic in nature. When considering female choice, there traditionally has been much more focus placed on the acoustic aspect of the call, but Rose is interested in further exploring how visual cues may impact a female's perception and, ultimately, her choice.
Robotic túngara frogs (designed by SaviMade) with inflatable silicone vocal sacs and a controller (designed by Paul Clements at Salisbury University) are used to test the reactions of female frogs to the multimodal courtship display of male frogs.
To learn more about her thesis research, you can watch her virtual presentation for the 2022 Animal Behavior Society meeting here.
In collaboration with SaviMade, our lab has produced a new species of robofrog: the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)! Because of a grant awarded to our undergraduates, we were able to fund their creation so that next field season they can be used as a visual stimulus during behavioral trials.
Alongside their older counterparts (green treefrogs (Dryophytes cinerea) and túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus)), these little guys are the next generation of robofrogs and represent the future of our lab.