Heterosexual Necrophilia in the Frog

What with homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck monopolizing attention, heterosexual necrophilia in frogs — especially functional necrophilia — has gotten scant mention. That imbalance is changing, largely due to this study:

Functional necrophilia: a profitable anuran reproductive strategy?” J.T. Izzo, D.J. Rodrigues, M. Menin, A.P. Lima and W.E. Magnusson, Journal of Natural History, vol. 46, nos. 47-48, 2012, pp. 2961-2967.  The authors, at Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia and other institutions in Brazil, report:

“In the first aggregation (Figure 1B) we witnessed a male in axillary amplexus with one dead female (Figure 1C), and he extracted her oocytes by squeezing the sides of her belly with rhythmic movements of his front and hind limbs (Figure 1C). We did not check the fertilization of eggs because of lack of materials suitable for observations in the field. During the second reproductive event, four R. proboscidea males were seen extracting oocytes from dead females. Three of them were not interrupted by other males but, on one occasion, a male was observed pushing the amplectant dead female around the pond, apparently to avoid other males. This male continued to compress the dead female’s abdomen during such displacements and the oocytes kept being expelled.”


Thanks to Ed Yong for bringing this to our attention. He discusses the matter in an essay that is, in its way, beautiful.

BONUS: “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain

BONUS: Frog upon frog upon frog upon frog, as well as frog on frog on frog: