You don’t have to look very far to find something unexpected in nature. Today we will explore two examples.
Rebecca Brunner, a conversation ecologist and PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, recently discovered that the glass frogs (Sachatamia orejuela) in Columbia and Ecuador were “waving” hello. The male glass frog moves its hands and feet and bobs its head along with a vocal call in an attempt to attract a mate.
These frogs are found near waterfalls which are fairly loud. They apparently evolved to include these visual displays to supplement the vocalizations which may not have always been loud enough to get the desired response. This is a relatively rare behavior amongst frog species.
Check out Brunner’s Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/U6prmVIyxXI
The frog movements may be subtle to humans but they work for them!
More unexpected nature: The plant world is also full of surprises.
We know that species evolve in response to stimuli in their environment, such as developing a toxin to deter animal grazing. Taking it one step further, in November 2020, three scientists reported in the journal Current Biology, that plants can also evolve as a result of pressure from human harvesting activities.
Fritillaria delavayi is usually a bright green wild plant that grows amongst the scree on the mountalns in southwest China. It is frequently harvested as a traditional Chinese medicine. Amazingly, some of the plants have responded to the pressure by changing their coloration to gray so that they blend in with the rocky ground, making the plants more difficult to find. In fact, areas with the greatest harvesting activity also exhibited the greatest degree of color change.
Science News has a great overview and a nice side by side set of photos to compare the coloration. Look here: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plant-camouflage-people-china-traditional-medicine-fritillaria