This Giant Tarantula Species Keeps A Tiny Frog As Pet

A huge spider having a tiny pet frog? Really? Well, read on.

Photo: Emanuele Biggi

Pets allow us to establish and strengthen emotional ties, allowing us to dedicate part of our time to take satisfaction at providing what they need and get their affection in return. Strange as it might sound, these relationships do not only exist between humans and animals, but also within the animal kingdom.

Yes, you have read that right. Some animals keep other animals as ‘pets’. And just like with pets kept by humans, this relationship often benefits both of them and can sometimes even guarantee their survival.

One astonishing example are some frog species in South America, India, Sri Lanka, and perhaps elsewhere, that have all developed close relationships with large spiders. Well, huge spiders. Just look at this.

Spider & Co. Photo: Emanuele Biggi

Take, for example, the dotted humming frog (Chiasmocleis ventrimaculata). Found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, this frog species is known to have a mutualistic relationship with the Colombian lesserblack tarantula (Xenesthis immanis), an enormous spider with a body length reaching 7 cm (2,75 inches) and a length width reaching 22 cm (8,5 inches).

OK, but what’s the deal? Well, the tarantula protects the frog from predators, while also providing it with a food source from the insects feeding on the remains of its prey.

OK, but what’s the deal for that huge tarantula? Well, the frog’s foraging protects the tarantula’s eggs from ants.

Spider(s) and frog hanging out together, for a living. Photo: Photo: Emanuele Biggi

This mutualism between microhylids and large spiders is common and occurs in various parts of the world. And it’s kind of cool.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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