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The Toad Isn't Eating the Bug. The Bug Is Eating the Toad.


(Video Link)

The toad spotted the Epomis larva and made lunch plans. His prey looked utterly helpless. All that was necessary was to snatch the slow-moving insect with his tongue. Down into the belly it went!

The toad made a serious mistake.

Inside the digestive tract of the toad, the Epomis immediately releases enzymes that begin digesting its host. The Epomis is eating its captor. Matt Simon describes this zoological oddity at Wired. He quotes the University of Toronto entomologist Gil Wizen:

All the while, you go about the life of a toad. You take a swim and gobble up insects. You will not, however, turn into a prince, because after two days, you’re so weakened you can no longer move. It’s at this point that the larva enters what Wizen calls “the predation stage.”

The larva begins chewing more, says Wizen, “and what we see is that it sort of tears tissues from the amphibian’s body. After a few hours the amphibian is reduced to just a pile of bones and just a little bit of skin.”

I wonder what they taste like.


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