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Salamanders feed on bat guano in cave system
mongabay.com
November 21, 2005


A species of blind, cave-dwelling salamander in Oklahoma feeds on bat guano according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society and presented on the online version of Nature.

A population of grotto salamanders (Eurycea spelaeus) that lives in the January-Stansbury Cave of northeastern Oklahoma has apparently changed its diet -- which normally consists of small insects -- to take advantage of large concentrations of protein-rich bat droppings.

The study, lead by Danté Fenolio, a herpetologist from the University of Oklahoma, found that guano from the cave's population of 15,000 grey bats (Myotis grisescens) is quite nutritious.

"If you could somehow sterilize bat guano, it would probably make a good human food source," Fenolio told the online version of Nature.

Other organisms -- especially insects, fungi, crustaceans, and bacteria -- have long been known to feed on bat droppings. This study marks the first observation of amphibians feeding on the food source.





This article used information from "Bat guano beats burgers for blind salamanders" (appearing on news@nature.com).


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