Biology

Frogs and elephants: a strange relationship

The relationships between species in nature can be unexpected but what they tend to be is always interconnected. The ecological niche and the habitat of some species may surprise us.

In this case, what is surprising is the relationship between frogs and elephants in Myanmar, according to a study published in the journal Mammalia .

Is well recognized that the elephants are “engineers of the ecosystem” and is known to play an important role in modifying vegetation through trampling, dispersal of seeds and also because they make large amounts of plant biomass in manure that facilitates entry of nutrients in the ecosystem.

Thanks to this, other species have the possibility of subsisting as small plants that can live in the spaces left by the trampling of elephants. Elephant feces are also the perfect place for a wide variety of amphibians, beetles, insects, and other small invertebrates.

Frogs and elephants: a deep relationship

However, in this case, the discovery is somewhat more surprising. In an area of tropical forest such as elephant habitat in Myanmar, frequent rains fill the deep tracks left by elephants with water. Tadpoles and frog eggs are capable of living in these very small pools. For example, they found 20 puddles containing frog eggs and larvae at Nay Ya Inn during 2016 and 2017.

Puddles are deep ruts that provide amphibians with a perfect nutrient-rich refuge during the dry season. They are the perfect place to take refuge during the low rainfall season since, being small pools, they are free of fish that can feed on eggs and tadpoles.

Going further, the footprint path could serve as the steps that young frogs have to cross to reach the populations of other frogs. Like a lake highway for frogs.

It is amazing how this discovery shows us how complex nature is and underscores that the conservation of different species is more important than it may seem. Elephants are considered emblematic species, that is, species whose conservation results in the perfect conservation for other species.

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