3 min read

Worm Video Leaves Audience Of Frogs Totally Transfixed

A man in St. Augustine, Fla. has evidently discovered a simple way to leave an audience of amphibians absolutely transfixed: play them footage of their favorite food on a digital display.

In a fascinating clip shared online earlier this week, what starts out as a handful of Southern leopard frogs quickly turns into several handfuls as they seem to be drawn to an iPhone video of worms writhing around on the ground. A few of the frogs even clamor in to take a bite at the easy grub, only to wind up with a mouth full of nothing.

"Frogs definitely cue in on movement, and that's what you're seeing. They're just seeing something moving, and frogs are sit-and-wait predators, so they see movement and they think 'Aha, potential food.' In this case, they can't differentiate that that's a screen," Johnson told The Dodo by phone.

'They're sitting there, so they don't have any metabolic machinery to power. They could sit there for an hour and decide 'Okay, now the food item looks close enough to me.' It's not like they're wasting energy when they're not hunting. They don't have high energy demands, so they can afford to just sit there and bide their time before they strike."

Dr. Johnson says that he's most taken aback, not by the frogs' behavior, but by the fact that there are so many of them in one place.

"The number of frogs really surprises me. That's a heap of leopard frogs," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if there was a wetland edge to the right of the screen, and that's where the frogs are coming from."