Sign language

In a rainforest stream in Panama, the sound of the running water can drown out the territorial calls of frogs, so the rare golden frog has a novel way of getting around the problem. Males set up their territory by the river and then wait for females to turn up, but since good territories are hard to come by the males may have to hold them against intruders. And the way that rivals signal their presence to each other is by waving at each other with their front legs. If the male intruder is not deterred by the waving but simply waves back then there will be a confrontation. When a large female arrives - without the male's black markings - the male clambers on to her, ready to mate. But while he is occupied, another challenger arrives and also jumps on her and the female hops away with both males on board. Most frogs find safety in camouflage, but golden frogs are easily seen. The poison in their skin means they can afford to be conspicuous as predators know to avoid them.

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4 minutes

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Role Contributor
PresenterDavid Attenborough
PresenterDavid Attenborough

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