The animal escapist who runs away from the stomach and exits through the anus after being eaten


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The greater part of the animals survives through hiding, to avoid predators, or due to toxic substances or other defenses that they become a bite unappetizing. But a few animals have another ace in the sleeve: survive even after being swallowed up , as Jonah was in the belly of the whale.

This week, a team of researchers from the University of Kobe, Japan, has documented for the first time one of the most spectacular examples of this type of behavior. In a study published in “Current Biology”, have shown how the beetle aquatic Regimbartia attenuata can you escape the cloaca of the frog Pelophylax nigromaculatus, who live in some areas of China, Russia, Korea and Japan.

The novelty is that, unlike other cases, in which the animals escape passively, without moving, through the feces of the predator, this beetle is released actively, that is to say, moving. In addition, it does so just moments after being engulfed, to the distress of the anuro.

But there is still more. As suggested by the researchers, led by Sugiura Shinji, the beetle probably promotes its own excretion , facilitating the opening of the cloaca of the frog, without which she can avoid it.

“living, breathing, and kicking”

unlike other animals, many frogs don’t kill their prey when the gobble up, because they lack teeth. For this reason, depend on the fluids from your digestive system to kill their prey . This implies that for many of them the last moments of his life are worthy of a nightmare.

The professor Sugiura Shinji decided to investigate if the insects are defending themselves against this fateful destination. For this reason, he studied in the laboratory the response of the beetle A. attenuata and the frog P. nigromaculatus.

Such as found, in controlled conditions all of the beetles were easily swallowed by the frogs. However, 93.3% of them were released, in a time that was 0.1 to 3.5 hours. And they all came out “living, breathing and kicking.”

A long journey to freedom

According to the researcher, these observations indicate that the beetles will move towards the sewer, passing through the digestive tract of the amphibian. And that for them the distance is considerable: if your body is between 3.8 to 5 millimeters, the digestive tract of a frog measured from the mouth to the cloaca, 22.5 to figure of 74.2 mm . In addition, they have to induce the opening of the cloaca of frogs before you enjoy your freedom.

On this occasion, Sugiura Shinji has observed the same behavior in the other four species of frog: Pelophylax porosus, Glandirana rugosa,Hyla japonica, and Fejervarya kawamurai. And the truth is that never until now had documented the release of an insect from the cloaca of a predator, nor were they observed signs that the “hunted” who promoted his departure.

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