Study Shows Epomis Beetles Prey on Amphibians Much Larger Than Themselves

Tel-Aviv University researchers have shown that ground beetles of the genus Epomis can take on and kill amphibians much larger than themselves. The study found the genus Epomis is represented in Israel by two species: E. dejeani and E. circumscriptus. The researchers recorded Epomis sharing shelter with amphibians during the day, but preying on them during the night. In the laboratory, predation behaviour of the adult beetles on five amphibian species was observed.

Senior author Gil Wizen says, "Amphibians are typical insect predators and their diet may include adult beetles, ground beetles in particular. 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 lab results show that the beetle is a specialized predator of amphibians despite its larger size. Take a look:



The full study was published here in ZooKeys.

Posted on May 20, 2011

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