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

bian 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.


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

Page: 1 2

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