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A survey of frog odorous secretions, their possible functions and phylogenetic significance

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image of Applied Herpetology

This study provides a survey of frog odour (with particular reference to Australian species) and discusses the human perception and classification of frog volatile secretions. Professional and amateur herpetologists were solicited for information on the frogs they perceived as odorous. In addition, volunteers were asked to smell stressed frogs and describe the odour that they perceived. A total of 131 species, representing 30 genera (14 Australian and 16 other) and 11 families were assessed for odour. Odours ranged from pleasant floral aromas (e. g. Notaden spp. and Neobatrachus spp.) through to acrid, repulsive odours (e. g. Litoria alboguttata). The systematic relationships of these odours and their potential biological roles are discussed.


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