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Spotted salamander eggs hatch more easily if nibbled by predators



A female spotted salamander with egg case in a pool

Rolf Nussbaumer Photography/Alamy

For spotted salamander embryos nearing hatching, they get by with a little help – not from friends, but from animals that are actually their predators. Voracious frog tadpoles chew on the egg masses, which helps them hatch, possibly because trimming away layers of the eggs’ protective covering increases their ability to absorb oxygen from the water.

Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) lay their eggs in seasonal springtime pools where they are at risk of being eaten by aquatic insects and the tadpoles …

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