Animals keeping other animals as pets? Yes, you have read it right. Adding to the list of unlikely friends, we bring you a wonderful codependent relationship between a giant tarantula and a humming frog.
Pictures of an oxpecker sitting on a water buffalo, or tiny pilot fishes sticking to large sharks are not uncommon. National Geographic has made sure that we all are well aware of it. What can still surprise many of us is the sight of a giant tarantula towering over a tiny frog, living peacefully.
Though the studies are as old as 1989 (by Crocraft and Hambler), the news of it has not reached many of us.
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Crocraft and Hambler first noticed that the animal duo shared a strange codependent and intimate relationship with each other. While the giant tarantula was naturally capable of hunting and feasting on the tiny frog, they left these tiny creatures unharmed. They even live together!
The researchers also noticed that the young (still large) tarantulas would catch hold of the tiny frogs and examine them using their mouths, but not eat them. This curious behavior was noticed in other individuals of the two species as well. Turns out, the tiny frogs contain toxins in their skin that are not particularly palatable for the giant tarantulas. This could be a possible reason for their close association.
The relationship between a giant tarantula and a humming frog does not arise for the reasons that we wished for. Be honest, I’m sure most of us just wanted them to be each other’s companions because they found each other cute, and not because they can’t really eat each other due to skin toxins! Nonetheless, their behavior gives us everything that we need to brighten up our days.
A Giant Tarantula And A Humming Frog: Each Other’s Bodyguards?
Researchers have discovered the animal duo even share their tree holes, where they reside with their young ones. The giant tarantula protects the tiny humming frog from other predators. And, in turn, the tiny frog protects the tarantula’s eggs by eating small insects that can harm the yet-to-be-born tarantulas. They sort of become each other’s bodyguards!
In 2002, Jolene Csakany researched the mutual relationship between the animal duo in Peru. The researcher noticed that the tiny humming frogs could have fostered a similar relationship with other species of tarantulas.
Csakany took a frog that did not share this codependent relationship with the giant tarantula and placed a humming frog’s skin on top of it. The researcher noticed that the giant tarantula grabbed the frog and inspected it, but yet again, released it unharmed.
Mother Nature can be tough. We human beings depend on other human beings and other species (hug your dogs and cats!) to learn, evolve, and just live. Likewise, animals in nature too can build this partnership amongst themselves to survive. It’s the survival of the fittest in the jungle, so, a little bit of help and support doesn’t hurt.
Who knew a giant tarantula and a humming frog would be the ones to bring smiles in the middle of a global pandemic!
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Image: FLPA/Emanuele Biggi copyright: [agefotostock]