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How not to eat the wrong frog

Fringe-lipped bats can’t be fooled by imitators of favored prey

Fringe-lipped bats eat frogs even though gulping the wrong one in the dark could be fatal.

New high-speed video of the tropical bats swooping toward various frogs and toads shows that the predators deploy a sequence of senses to update their judgment of prey during an attack to avoid eating a toxic amphibian, says behavioral ecologist Rachel Page of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama. The bats proved hard to fool even when researchers played the call of a favorite edible frog while offering up another species, Page and her colleagues report in an upcoming Naturwissenschaften.

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