Frogs discovered in elephant dung


Frogs discovered living in elephant dung

Jeremy Hance

June 10, 2009

Three different species of frogs have been discovered living in the dung of the Asian elephant in southeastern Sri Lanka. The discovery—the first time anyone has recorded frogs living in elephant droppings—has widespread conservation implications both for frogs and Asian elephants, which are in decline.

“I found the frogs fortuitously during a field study about seed dispersal by elephants,” Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, a research fellow from the University of Tokyo, told “I thought it was an interesting phenomenon and commented it with some colleagues, experts on elephant and amphibian ecology. None of them had heard about such a thing before. Local people in the study area…seemed also unaware of it.”

This led Campos-Arciez on a hunt. He examined 290 elephant dung piles and found six frog individuals in five dung piles, representing three species: the ornate narrow-mouthed frog Microhyla ornata, another narrow-mouthed species Microhyla rubra, and a frog species in the Sphaerotheca genus. …

As Campos-Arciez alludes to, he found more than just frogs taking refuge in the elephant droppings. Although frogs were the only vertebrates, he also found beetles, ants, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, crickets, spiders, and termites, “suggesting that a dung pile can become a small ecosystem on its own,” Campos-Arciez writes in the paper announcing his discoveries in Biotropica.

5 thoughts on “Frogs discovered in elephant dung

  1. Pingback: Many elephants moved in Malawi | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Indians mourn elephants killed by power lines | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Asian and African elephants, different food | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Elephants help frogs survive | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: South African dung beetles, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.