Faculty in the News: Eva Fischer, Assistant Professor, Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior

Earth.com (Telluride, Colo., May 29) — Scientists have long been intrigued by the toe-tapping behavior of amphibians. While this phenomenon is well-documented, its purpose has remained shrouded in mystery. Researchers at the U. of I. focused their attention on the dyeing poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius), a species known for its vibrant colors and, of course, its rhythmic toe taps. The frogs’ tap rate varied depending on the surface, but surprisingly, this had no impact on their feeding success. “Although we saw that the frogs ate in every context, it was exciting to see that they changed their behavior based on what they’re standing on,” says Eva Fischer, a professor of integrative biology and the study’s lead author.