Baby beetles dance… then they kill

Baby beetles dance... then they kill
A ground beetle larva (the small yellowish thing)

and his prey (the much bigger soon-to-be dead thing)

The larva of the Epomis ground beetle use their deceptive larva ways to eat larger amphibians such as frogs and toads.

Baby beetles dance... then they kill
Let’s dance

When the larva notice a nearby potential victim, they dance, using their mandibles, antenna or both. Since an amphibian can’t resist being instinctively attracted to that kind of movement, it attacks by shooting out its tongue.

But the larva is quick, so it dodges the attack and latches on to the amphibian’s skin. Now the dancing mandibles become killing mandibles – they pierce the skin and slowly suck out the insides of the amphibian.

Even if the larva is not quick enough and the amphibian catches it, the amphibian spits it out – I presume because it tastes horrible – and then the larva is in a great position to attack again.

Scientists observed one amphibian that managed to swallow a larva, but after two hours in the amphibian’s stomach, it regurgitated the larva.

Then the larva ate it.

– Baby Beetle Uses Mouth to Lure Amphibians to Their Doom, Wired Science>>
– An Unprecedented Role Reversal: Ground Beetle Larvae (Coleoptera: Carabidae) Lure Amphibians and Prey upon Them, PLoS ONE>>

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