Forget the "man bites dog" news stories. Even more daring: Beetle Bites Toad!
Two species of Epomis beetles deserve front-page headlines on the nature front news. The two beetles, E. dejeani and E. circumscriptus, readily dine on toads, frogs and salamanders.
Those same amphibians eat other insects, but Epomis seek vengeance for their fallen invertebrate kin by branching out from their normal diet of insects, worms and carrion to make a meal of a hapless amphibian.
Gil Wizen and Avital Gasith of Tel Aviv University recently observed the table-turning beetles and their interactions with amphibian prey on the coastal plains of Israel.
Like a roommate from a horror movie, the beetle sometimes hangs out with its intended victims during the day in burrows or other shelters. But once the sun goes down, the backstabbing bug kills and eats its amphibian roomies.
The beetles literally stab, or at least bite, their victims in the back. They bite into the amphibian's back and immobilize them. Over the next couple of hours, they devour the amphibians, starting with their delicious legs.
The world is an amphibian smorgasbord to the Epomis beetles. Wizen and Gasith found that the beetles make meals of frogs and toads (Bufo viridis, Hyla savignyi and Rana bedriagae), newts (Triturus vittatus) and salamanders (Salamandra salamandra infraimmaculata).