Navigation Links
Amphibians: Beware young beetles' deadly 'siren call'
Date:9/26/2011

Ground beetles can immobilize and devour amphibian prey many times their size. Now Gil Wizen, a graduate student of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology, has discovered that they have an additional advantage the larvae of these beetles, like their fully grown adult counterparts, have a unique method for luring and feeding off amphibians.

Wizen's research revealed that, like the sirens who lured Ulysses' sailors to their demise, larvae have a lethal method for attracting the attention of amphibians tricking the toads into thinking they will be tasty prey.

In a dry country like Israel, amphibian species are already being threatened with extinction. Greater understanding of the larvae's habits and their impact on the amphibian population will have significant impact towards an accurate environmental risk assessment, says Wizen. His research was recently published in PLoS ONE.

Reversing the role of predator and prey

The project was set in motion when toad specimens were brought to Wizen's lab for observation. Discovering that some of the specimens had larvae attached to their bodies, the researchers noted over time that the larvae spent their entire life cycle feeding off the toads.

Adult beetles, Wizen says, ambush and then paralyze the amphibians by making a small incision into their back, perhaps severing the spinal cord or cutting a muscle so they cannot jump away. The beetles then consume and kill the amphibian. But the researchers wanted to know how this David-and-Goliath feat was accomplished, and collected more information on the larvae themselves and how they first attracted the amphibians' attention.

Amphibians hunt based on their prey's movement, Wizen explains. Larvae, immobile on the ground, attract the amphibian's attention by performing a sequence of movements, including opening their jaws and moving their antennae side to side, almost like a dance. When the amphibian tries to grab the larvae with its tongue, however, the larvae jumps and attaches itself to the amphibian with its jaws.

"It's really a predator-prey role reversal the insect actually draws in its potential predator instead of avoiding it," says Wizen. "It's quite a unique phenomenon."

An unbeatable opponent

Although they are many times the larvae's size, the amphibians don't stand a chance, says Wizen. Researchers did observe some instances where the amphibian was quicker and managed to ingest the larvae, but success didn't last in every case, the amphibian ended up regurgitating the larvae, which then attached itself to the amphibian's mouth.

Once the larvae has attached, the amphibian's diagnosis is grim. If the larvae are in the first stage of development, they will feed off the amphibian's body fluids like an exoparasite, and eventually, when they need to moult into its next developmental stage, they will fall off the amphibian's body, leaving a nasty scar.

But in the second or third stages of development, Wizen explains, the larvae begin to chew on the amphibians themselves, leaving behind nothing but bones.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NASA scientist publishes new book: Coming Climate Crisis? Consider the Past, Beware the Big Fix
2. Urban gardeners beware: There may be lead in your soil and food
3. Buyer beware: Dangerous levels of lead found in used consumer products
4. Coffee, energy drinkers beware: Many mega-sized drinks loaded with sugar, MU nutrition expert says
5. Beware of predatory male black bears
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
8. Research shows that time invested in practicing pays off for young musicians
9. 12 outstanding young scientists named as EMBO Young Investigators
10. Old flies can become young moms
11. Elsevier announces winners of 3rd Annual Scopus Young Indian Scientist Award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Amphibians: Beware young beetles' deadly 'siren call'
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost ... to a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global ... By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", ... 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing security ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the ... today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both ... physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in ... Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio ... practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how ...
Breaking Biology Technology: