Spelunking Inside A Frog

Dark-spotted frog (Pelophylax nigromaculatus) in Japan (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

28 August 2020

In case you missed it in early August, here’s amazing news from Kobe University about the way a beetle survives being eaten by a frog.

The frog is the dark-spotted frog in Japan (Pelophylax nigromaculatus), above.

The beetle is a water scavenger beetle, Regimbartia attenuata.

Water scavenger beetle, Regimbartia attenuata (photo from Kobe University)

When the frog eats the beetle, the beetle is (obviously) inside the frog’s digestive tract which resembles a long cave. Spelunca is Latin for cave.

The beetle actively crawls through the digestive tract to escape out the vent (anus) of the frog. Bugs that don’t keep moving don’t make it out alive.

Time required for the passage of Regimbartia attenuata and other beetles through the frog Pelophylax nigromaculatus from swallowing to excretion (credit: Kobe University)

Kobe University provided this movie to show what happens.

The word “scavenger” in the beetle’s common name may explain why he isn’t repulsed by what he’s crawling through as he goes spelunking inside the frog.

Read more about the study in this 4 Aug 2020 news release from Kobe University: An insect species can actively escape from the vents of predators via the digestive system.

(frog photo from Wikimedia Commons, all other media courtesy Kobe University via this news release)

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