Feng Article Highlights Work with Ultrasonic Frog

Beckman Institute researcher Al Feng and colleague Peter Nairns of UCLA contributed a review article to the Journal of Comparative Physiology detailing their groundbreaking discovery of a Chinese frog capable of ultrasonic communication.

The article, Ultrasonic communication in concave-eared torrent frogs (Amolops tormotus), appeared in the Feb. 2008 issue of the journal.

Feng, who is a member of Beckman's NeuroTech group, studies the neural basis of sound pattern recognition in the auditory system of frogs and bats. He and his colleagues were intrigued by the unusual ear morphology of Amolops tormotus and, after several field trips to the frogs' habitat in China, discovered the species' special talent. Results from their research showed that Amolops tormotus was able to communicate ultrasonically, a first for an amphibian species.

Feng has been travelling to China to study Amolops tormotus since 2000 and, as the authors state in the article, work is continuing in this area that is "fertile ground for research in comparative hearing and evolutionary biology." The review article is available by subscription or through a University of Illinois account.