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Herpetology Notes, volume 8: 329-330 (2015) (published online on 16 June 2015)

Predation on the tropical bullfrog Adenomera marmorata

(Anura: Leptodactylidae) by the wandering spider
Ctenus ornatus (Araneae: Ctenidae)
in southeastern Brazil

Lucas Coutinho Amaral,*, Pedro de Souza Castanheira, Sergio Potsch de Carvalho-e-Silva

and Renner Luiz Cerqueira Baptista

Anurans are common preys to some species of spiders

(Menin et al., 2005). Not only adults (e.g., Barej et al.,
2005), but also tadpoles are preyed on by spiders (e.g.,
Folly et al., 2014a; Luiz et al., 2013). The frog species
Adenomera marmorata Steindachner, 1867, occurs in
the Atlantic Rain Forest in southeastern Brazil, from
Rio de Janeiro to Santa Catarina states (Frost, 2015),
and is one of the most abundant amphibian species in
the leaf-litter (Heyer et al., 1990; Rocha et al., 2007). It
is mostly a nocturnal frog, but males can also be heard
at anytime of the day during rainy days (Izecksohn and
Carvalho-e-Silva, 2001). Males call from chambers
dug in the ground, where the females lay their eggs
embedded in foam nests (Izecksohn and Carvalho-eSilva, 2001). The spider family Ctenidae is the only
known Brazilian wandering spider family including
members that can harm humans, with a large number of
medically important bites in Brazil each year (Martins
and Bertani, 2007). They can be easily identified by a
longitudinal groove on the rear of their carapace and
by the eye formula 4-2-2, with four frontal eyes, two

Laboratrio de Anfbios e Rpteis (LAR), Universidade

Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Cincias da Sade,
Instituto de Biologia, A1-111, Ilha do Fundo, CEP 21941590, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil
Laboratrio de Diversidade de Aracndeos (LABAR),
Universidade Federal do Rio Janeiro, Instituto de Biologia,
A1-097, Ilha do Fundo, CEP 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro/RJ,
* Corresponding author: l.amaral94@gmail.com

tiny middle eyes and two large posterior eyes (Jocqu

and Dippenaar-Schoeman, 2006). Ctenids are nocturnal
hunters, running mainly on the leaf litter. They use mainly
vibration and visual contact to locate prey, catching and
killing them with their powerful poison, delivered by the
fangs of their strong chelicerae (Jocqu and DippenaarSchoeman, 2006). Ctenus ornatus (Keyserling, 1877) is
a large and very common ground spider in the Atlantic
Forest, distributed from Pernambuco state, in Northeast,
to Gois state, in the West, both in Brazil, to Misiones,
Argentina (Brescovit and Sim, 2007).
The following event was observed during a
herpetological field work at approximately 07:30 pm
on 10 August, 2014, at the Centro Marista So Jos
das Paineiras, Mendes municipality, Rio de Janeiro
State, southeastern Brazil (223048S, 434514W).
The Centro Marista So Jos das Paineiras is located
in a relatively well-preserved area, mostly covered by
secondary forest. Its anuran fauna is currently under
study and has shown to be quite diverse (Folly et al.,
2014b). While searching the leaf-litter, an adult female
of Ctenus ornatus was seen jumping onto an adult A.
marmorata, and quickly biting the frogs dorsum with
its chelicerae. The spider soon let the motionless A.
marmorata loose, but stayed at approximately 5 cm from
its prey until we collected both specimens. The frog died
on the way back to Centro Marista headquarters. Both
specimens were collected and deposited as vouchers.
The spider (prosoma 5.52 mm long; 4.0 mm wide) is
housed in the Laboratrio de Diversidade de Aracndeos,
Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia,
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ 0949),
and the frog (snout-vent length 18.87 mm) is housed in
the Amphibian Collection of Departamento de Zoologia,

Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de
Janeiro (ZUFRJ 14937).
Predation of Adenomera marmorata by Ctenus
medius Keyserling, 1891 was previously reported by
Barbo et al. (2009). Despite being the only report of
Ctenus species preying on A. marmorata, the authors
have suggested that this behavior was presumably more
frequent. Our report of another Ctenus species preying
on the same anuran species supports their suggestion.
The form of attack was similar to the one described
before (Barbo et al., 2009), differing only regarding
the distance of the spider from the prey. As both
Ctenus species and the frog A. marmorata are common
nocturnal animals in the Atlantic forest, often sharing
the same habitats, predation might be common, albeit
not usually recorded. Knowledge of trophic relations is
an important key to understanding species interactions
with its surroundings. Records of predation in nature are
rare and can be helpful for behavioral and community
ecology in addition to other studies.

Lucas Coutinho Amaral et al.

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Accepted by Cynthia Prado