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Tadpoles are turning into cannibals

By Francisco Flores,
Researchers found tadpoles resort to cannibalism when food is scarce.

Tadpoles have been found to resort to cannibalism. Though it is usually done as a last resort, the young frogs will find anything to eat before choosing to consume one of their own kind.

According to Live Science, a study at the University of Saskatchewan found that tadpoles will choose to consume other tadpoles when there is no other resource for food. Aside from tadpoles, other types of amphibians, including salamanders, also feed on their own species when there is no other food available.

In scientists' eyes, this cannibalism makes complete sense. Their justification: eating one’s own species has the exact vitamins and nutrients the organism needs to prosper.

There are some downsides, however. Some pathogens that might be dangerous to the organism can be consumed when resorting to cannibalism. This will then cause illness within the species. Besides that, if feeding on one of the same species, there is room for retaliation if the organism is alive.

BBC also reported that tadpoles are eating eggs of their own species. This widespread epidemic is said to be caused by climate change. Ponds are drying up, leaving tadpoles with little food resources. This, in turn, leads them to cannibalism.

image By böhringer friedrich (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

 
 

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