A Different Kind of Drumstick

07/02/2009

Tadpole  I recently posted about the global phenomenon of frogs with extra, deformed or missing limbs.  Chemical pollution and parasites have been identified as the likely culprits. 

New research is showing that, in the case of frogs with missing limbs, predatory dragonfly nymphs could actually be the main cause.  Rather than killing and eating the whole tadpole, dragonfly nymphs simply bite off a leg, leaving the tadpole alive to develop into a adult frog with a missing limb.  The nymphs seem to prefer to eat the leg because the skin on the tadpole's body is toxic while the legs are not. 

For lots of people, the drumstick is the favorite part of the chicken.  It turns out that humans aren't the only ones to prefer leg meat!

VIDEO: Watch this footage of a dragonfly nymph biting off the leg of a tadpole.


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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