Isopoda Photo stories Reportage: Weird Nature The spider and the frog
The spider and the frog

By Francesco Tomasinelli and Emanuele Biggi

Updated 18/03/2008

Frogs have difficult lives in South American rainforests. Many of them are preyed by Snakes and by Artropods, especially by spiders which are big and particularly active at night. But there is a frog that developed a peculiar relationship with some spiders. This is the Microhylid Chiasmocleis ventrimaculata, who lives, often in good numbers, near spider burrows of some tarantulas species. The spider, a still undescribed Theraphosidae of the genus Pamphobeteus, tolerates the frog and never attacks it. Other amphibians passing outside his burrow are immediately captured, even by the young specimens which, in this species, remain with the mother for many month with no sign of cannibalism. This curious relationship is one of the few cases of mutualism between amphibian and spiders (the other involves Xenesthis immanis instead of Pamphobeteus sp.) for the first time photographed with such detail.
The advantages for the Chiasmocleis are obvious. She won't be attacked by other spiders and by small snakes: intrusions are not tolerated in the tarantula territory. And it’s possible the Arachnid is somehow helped by the frog who preys upon small parasites (mainly Diptera) and possible ants that could harm the spider or its eggs.

On Amphibians see also Saving frogs into the Amazon
On Arachnids see also Surprising spiders

Many thanks to Rudy Von May, Alessandro Catenazzi, Mo Donnelly, Nigel and Renata Pitman, Rick West and all the crew of the CICRA Los Amigos biological station in the Peruvian Amazon.

 

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Welcome to Isopoda.net, website of Italian biologist and science photographer Francesco Tomasinelli. My favourite photographic subjects are unusual animals, travels and scientists at work, but I shoot many other topics, like sports, events and corporate pictures. I work as scientific consultant too, mainly on nature conservation and as museum exhibit designer.

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7-12-2013 New scientific exhibition Zanne, corazze e veleni for Museo di Scienze Naturali di Genova, until 15-6-2014

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