I was leaving my apartment last week when I literally stopped and gasped at seeing the most beautiful frog on my sidewalk. I snapped a quick photo with my phone but as you can see this did not appropriately capture the stunning amphibian:
So, even though I was running late for a lab, I sprinted back to my apartment to get my camera for an extremely quick photoshoot and earned myself a couple weird glances from my neighbor. I’m so glad I stopped to give this absolutely gorgeous animal his due.
I realized after the fact this fellow is actually an invasive Cuban tree frog (whoops! Gotta look at the toes) but I’ve never seen one this big. I really wish we didn’t have such an issue with invasive species around here; this handsome boy should be in Cuba making all the other tree frogs swoon with his good looks, not hopping around on my sidewalk. Even so, I’m happy that I got to see him and happier still that my photography skills are finally getting to the point where I can capture these animals the way we see them in person!
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that frog show yeah
[id: four illustrations of characters from the cartoon amphibia: sprig, polly, toadie, and grime. they are all drawn in their original colour palettes and outfits, but more accurate to actual frog, toad, and tadpole anatomy. sprig looks somewhat like a red-eyed tree frog, and toadie is based on a rain frog. end id.]
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during a trip to Arizona last year I encountered an intriguing mystery...
On the left is a big, toxic darkling beetle in the genus Eleodes. Abundant in the southwest, their quinone-based defensive secretions protect them from most predators (just smelling one made my sinuses burn painfully).
On the right is some sort of large animal droppings containing many Eleodes shells. I couldn’t imagine what sort of animal would eat them and produce such large droppings. I theorized that it was a pellet coughed up by a large bird like an owl or roadrunner, but couldn’t find any info to suggest anything like that is resistant to the beetle toxins.
I still had no idea what was behind these droppings for many months after the trip, but I finally realized the culprit, a beast that I had been lucky enough to encounter while I was there:
It was the the Sonoran desert toad, Incilius alvarius. One of the world’s largest toads, it is apparently immune to the secretions of the darkling beetles in its desert habitat and eats them as a large portion of its diet.
It’s also the toad species known for the powerful psychedelic properties of its skin secretions (though contrary to popular belief, licking the toad is ineffective and extremely dangerous. Consuming the raw toad toxin can easily kill you.) Furthermore, there’s anecdotal evidence that the toads actually require darkling beetles to manufacture their toxin, which makes sense as smaller american toads have been reported to require similarly toxic carabid beetles for the same reason.
TL;DR I found some weird poop with beetles in it and was too dumb to realize until later that it came from the giant drug toads
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