Marine crabs eating freshwater frogs: Why are such observations so rare?

Publisher:
Societas Europaea Herpetologica
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Herpetology Notes, 2013, 6 (1), pp. 195 - 199
Issue Date:
2013-01
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We present the first records of predation by a marine crab (Leptograpsus variegatus) on a freshwater frog (Litoria aurea), and consider why such observations are so rare. We have studied two frog species on an island where breeding occurs in ponds near the ocean, and often observed marine crabs at these ponds. Given the broad diet and speed of these crabs, they would be expected to prey on various life-stages of these frogs. However, despite spending much time, both during the day and at night, surveying tadpoles and frogs, we have observed crabs attempting to prey on tadpoles on only a few occasions and on an adult frog just once. Possible reasons for the rarity of these observations include the crabs finding the tadpoles and frogs distasteful and hence avoiding them, and the rapidity with which crabs can capture and consume prey or move out-of-sight immediately after prey capture.
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