Jul 16, 2009

Frog and Spider Harmony

See that frog down there? Does he look terribly distressed? Not so much. He's got more of a hunker-down, lie-low expression going on. That's because this spider, a burrowing theraphosid tarantula Xenesthis immanis, has seized the frog, examined it with its mouthparts, and will most likely let go and move on, leaving the frog none the worse for wear (well, unless you consider the involuntary evacuation of your frog bladder as being the worse for wear). And this frog has quite possibly experienced this before.

Photo source: TetrapodZoology

Microhylids - or narrow-mouthed frogs - are the object of scrutiny and research among scientists and herpetalogists. It seems that there is something of a symbiotic relationship brewing between these tiny frogs and these large spiders (who have come to understand that these frogs aren't to be touched, being toxic and all). The frog benefits from close proximity to the spiders by having the big bruisers as protectors, and by being able to feed on the small invertebrates who show up to dine on the spider's prey carcasses. The spider in turn benefits by having a local pest control service that takes care of any ants that might be on the prowl for spider eggs.

I love symbiosis like this, even when spiders are part of the mix.

Thanks for the article, Morgan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man, that is the Ron Jeremy of spiders. I've never seen one with so much body hair.