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Strange Discovery: Devil Frog Vomits Out New Ant Species

Sep 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Sometimes, the biggest discoveries are found in the most unusual place, such as a frog's vomit.

A newsant species, Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri, named after Bert Hölldobler, a German ant expert, has been discovered on a devil frog's puke. The findings were described in journal ZooKeys.

Lenomyrmex, often found only in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama, currently consists of six described species, which are only rarely collected. The single Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri found on the devil frog's vomit was already dead when it was found so there are no clues that could give light to this mysterious species other than it has mandibles that looked like forceps.

According to the National Geographic, scientists used the ant-eating species as a tool to learn more about the elusive ants since they often hunt in places where human cannot penetrate, such as small crack and crevices.

Devil frog (Oophaga sylvatic), also called diablito originated in Ecuador and can also be found in Colombia. According to New Scientist, devil frog is a member of the dendrobatid group of poisonous frogs. Unlike other frogs, it has its own bright colors to tip off predators. The more toxic a frog, the brighter and more noticeable it is. The diablito has an orange color.

But these devil frogs do not produce their own poison, rather hey get eat from what they eat such as mites and ants.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, because of deforestation and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops, they are classified as threatened.

Thus, the scientist had to perform the experiment very carefully in order to avoid harming the devil frog.

To flush out the stomach, scientists inserted a soft tube into the amphibian's mouth and gently filled it with water, until whatever's inside the devil frog's belly came out.

After the flushing, the frog was returned to its natural environment.

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