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Role of Amphibians

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Turning The Tables
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Turning The Tables

Image by Gil Wizen. This isn't a friendly inspection. This beetle larva has just given Mr. Frog a rude surprise.

Think You're Going To Eat Me? Nah, I'm Going To Eat You!

Predator and prey! Good guy and bad guy! People are quite familiar with these situations from movies and media, even if they think these sorts of things don't go on around them every day. What about people without access to movies or media? Well, this sort of stuff goes on around them every day. The common conception is the big one eats the little one, unless that little one is a smart mammal that outsmarts its prey or some other such scenario. Yep, people love the stories of the little guy beating the big guy, even if they don't think this occurs very often in real life. After all, some cultures teach people to strive to be big and tough because then you'll succeed. Not all people (especially big people) are comfortable with this perceived order being upset. But, it happens, oh, yes it does. In the wild, wild, wonderful world, small hunts big and sometimes babies even hunt adults!

Want more? Well, here you can see a larva in action!

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. How do the Epomis larvae lure the frogs to them? What do they do once the frog is close?
  2. At what life stages do Epomis beetles feed on amphibians? Is the method of feeding consistent between life stages? Explain your answer fully.
  3. Do you find the relationship between Epomis beetles and amphibians surprising? Why or why not?
  4. What can you infer about the ecosystem the Epomis beetle lives in based on its interactions with amphibians? Think carefully before answering. Start with very basic ideas and then see where they lead.
  5. What sort of symbiosis exists between amphibians and Epomis beetles? Is this relationship consistent throughout the life span of the beetle? Explain your thinking fully and be specific in your reasoning.


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