Grundler said in the statement that, at the time, he and the other researchers were "pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn't really believe what we were seeing". "We knew we were witnessing something pretty special, but we weren't aware that it was the first observation until after the fact". "Walking on the African savanna at night with lions about is much scarier!"
According to Mike Grundler, a University of MI ecology and evolutionary biology PhD candidate, the team was walking through the forest at night when they heard a sound.
Later, Robert Voss, a mammologist at the American Museum of Natural History, confirmed they had captured the first documentation of a large mygalomorph spider-commonly known as a tarantula-hunting and eating an opossum.
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In addition to the opossum, the article details instances of arthropod predators - mostly large spiders along with a few centipedes and a giant water bug - preying on vertebrates such as frogs and tadpoles, lizards and snakes, a statement from the university said.
Rabosky, an associate professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of MI, published a paper along with his team of researchers late last month in the peer-reviewed journal Amphibian & Reptile Conservation.
A wandering spider is pictured snacking on a subadult Cercosaura eigenmanni lizard. "[.] Documenting predation by spiders and other arthropods in these ecosystems is essential even if many predaceous arthropods remain undescribed and are mostly classified as morphospecies, because they provide insights into an important source of vertebrate mortality that appears to be less common in extra-tropical communities". In the article, they listed other extraordinary encounters, including a centipede eating a dead coral snake - one of the most risky reptiles on the planet.
Joanna Larson, a UM doctoral student and co-author of the study, said the Amazon region offers a lot of opportunities for researchers. During those trips, the researchers have seen numerous rare encounters, which they have detailed in the paper, titled "Ecological interactions between arthropods and small vertebrates in a lowland Amazon rain forest". "Those centipedes are terrifying animals, actually". "A surprising amount of death of small vertebrates in the Amazon is likely due to anthropods such as big spiders and centipedes". While the tarantula in the genus Pamphobeteus will usually jump at the chance to eat a frog, it allows individuals of one species, the dotted humming frog (Chiasmocleis royi), to share its underground burrow.