Epomis Beetle Eats Toad: Tel Aviv University Research Finds Role Reversal In Animal Kingdom (VIDEO)
Apparently for this beetle, happiness is a warm toad.
In a recent study, Tel Aviv University researchers found that a species of ground beetle can paralyze and kill amphibians many times its size.
The scientists observed the Epomis beetle sharing a habitat with the amphibians during the day, only to launch a stealth attack on their prey during the night.
According to the study, the beetle begins by biting its prey in the back, sending the amphibian into violent spasms as a last ditch attempt to throw the beetle off. The incision paralyzes the prey within a few minutes, allowing the beetle to spend several hours slowly devouring its meal from the legs up.
The researchers observed the beetles chowing down on amphibians including frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, so they don't seem to be picky eaters.
The findings demonstrate a distinct role reversal compared to what is typically observed in the animal kingdom.
"Amphibians are typical insect predators and their diet may include adult beetles, ground beetles in particular," said senior researcher Gil Wizen. "The recently filmed successful attacks of the beetles on toads and frogs brought new insights on the amphibian-insect interactions, and documented the uncommon phenomenon of invertebrates preying on vertebrate animals."
The study was published in the academic journal ZooKeys.