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:6/9/2016)... Paris Police Prefecture ... solution to ensure the safety of people and operations in ... major tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised ... today that its video security solution will be utilised by ... public safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM ... which consumers will be able to interact with IBM Watson ... or text and receive relevant information about the product or ... long sought an advertising solution that can create a one-to-one ... valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and touchpoints. ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... OTTAWA, ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... former DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA ... joining the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, ... at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ... closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on ... ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these stocks ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... research report to its pharmaceuticals section with historic ... details and much more. Complete report ... 151 pages, profiling 15 companies and supported with ... http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . The Global ...
Breaking Biology Technology: