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New frog sex position discovered

"This is a remarkable frog with an unprecedented reproductive behavior," said researcher Sathyabhama Das Biju.

By Brooks Hays
A pair of Bombay night frogs perform the dorsal straddle. Photo by SD Biju
A pair of Bombay night frogs perform the dorsal straddle. Photo by SD Biju

MUMBAI, June 14 (UPI) -- Frogs are some of the kinkiest amphibians in the forest. Biologists have identified six different sex positions among the planet's 7,000-plus species of frogs and toads.

Recently, scientists discovered a seventh position -- dubbed the "dorsal straddle" -- being employed by the Bombay night frog, Nyctibatrachus humayuni, a species endemic to India's Western Ghats.

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If the dorsal straddle doesn't sound very intimate, that's because it's not. The position involves no genital contact. The male frog straddles the female from behind using a branch or leaf to brace himself while he deposits his sperm on the female's back. The female lays her eggs, which are fertilized by the sperm trickling down her backside.

A team of researchers led by Sathyabhama Das Biju, from the University of Delhi, spent a few dozen nights filming the sex lives of Bombay night frogs.

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Though the technique is derivative of a common frog sex position called amplexus -- comparable to "doggy style" -- researchers say the dorsal straddle is unique.

"This is a remarkable frog with an unprecedented reproductive behavior, which is unique for a number of reasons," Biju said in a news release. "This discovery is fundamental for understanding the evolutionary ecology and behavior in anuran amphibians."

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Biju and his colleagues published their findings in the journal PeerJ.

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During their time in the forests of the Western Ghats, a mountain range running the length of India's west coast, the scientists observed females calling to males, in addition to males calling to females -- a behavior observed in just 25 frog species. Researchers also witnessed a snake eating a clutch of the night frog's eggs, a first.

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