Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unprecedented role reversal: Ground beetle larvae lure amphibians and prey upon them

Date:
September 23, 2011
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Usually it's the frog that catches the unsuspecting bug for a tasty snack, but in an unprecedented predator-prey role reversal, a certain group of ground beetle larvae are able to lure their amphibious would-be predators and consume them with almost 100% success. In a new study, researchers begin to describe how these larvae are able to pull off this feat.

A beetle larva is attached to an amphibian host.
Credit: Gil Wizen/AFTAU

Usually it's the frog that catches the unsuspecting bug for a tasty snack, but in an unprecedented predator-prey role reversal, a certain group of ground beetle larvae are able to lure their amphibious would-be predators and consume them with almost 100% success.

In a report published in the online journal PLoS ONE, researchers begin to describe how these larvae are able to pull off this feat.

According to the researchers, larvae of the genus Epomis combine a sit-and-wait strategy with unique movements of their antennae and mouthparts to draw the attention of an amphibian (frogs and toads were used in the study). As the amphibian, thinking it has spotted potential prey, comes closer, the larva increases the intensity of these enticing motions. Then, when the amphibian attacks, the larva almost always manages to avoid the predator's tongue and uses its unique double-hooked mouthparts to attach itself to the amphibian's body and initiate feeding, which can include both sucking of bodily fluids and chewing body tissues, usually killing the much larger amphibian.

"Interestingly, adult beetles and larvae of species related to Epomis, are commonly preyed upon by amphibians," says the senior author Gil Wizen. "It seems that instead of serving as food items for amphibians, Epomis larvae have evolved to specifically take advantage of amphibians as a food source."

These findings extend the perspective of co-evolution in the arms race between predator and prey and suggest that counterattack defense behavior has evolved into predator-prey role reversal. However, the mechanism of the larva's swift counterattack against the speedy amphibian is still unknown.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gil Wizen, Avital Gasith. An Unprecedented Role Reversal: Ground Beetle Larvae (Coleoptera: Carabidae) Lure Amphibians and Prey upon Them. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (9): e25161 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025161

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Unprecedented role reversal: Ground beetle larvae lure amphibians and prey upon them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921172838.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2011, September 23). Unprecedented role reversal: Ground beetle larvae lure amphibians and prey upon them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921172838.htm
Public Library of Science. "Unprecedented role reversal: Ground beetle larvae lure amphibians and prey upon them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921172838.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Amphibians Beware: Beware Young Beetles' Deadly 'siren Call'

Sep. 26, 2011 — Biologists say that beetle larvae "trick" toads into believing that they're really a delicious snack. More than an explanation for an evolutionary quirk, an understanding of this ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins