The Remarkable Beetle That Can Survive Being Eaten By Frogs


Scientists recently discovered that a species of tiny water beetles can live through being eaten by a frog by somehow surviving a journey through its gut and simply exiting through…….well, you know. Regimbartia attenuata is a species of water beetle that’s unique in its ability to survive being swallowed alive. In one research experiment, the beetles were put into a plastic tub with frogs. The frogs ate 15 of the bugs, but excreted 95% of them alive within four hours. Some came out entangled in frog excrement, but they soon recovered and went on to live normal lives. Because frogs lack teeth, they rarely kill their prey before swallowing them, relying instead on their digestive system to kill and dissolve food into nutrients. Apparently, that doesn’t work on the R. attenuata beetles. No one knows exactly how the beetles find their way through the frog’s bowls, but it appears they need their legs to move in there. Researchers attempted to fix the beetles’ legs together with sticky wax, and without a means of motion, they all died. Another mysterious aspect of the beetle’s daring escape is how it manages to open the frog’s “back door." The sphincter muscle pressure keeps the vent closed, and since R. attenuata specimens always exit head-first, researchers believe they must stimulate the hind gut somehow, urging the frog to defecate. Even the Japanese scientist in charge of the unusual experiment declared his surprise after documenting the beetles' escape.