Scientist at Kiel University takes a sensational image of a frog in a frog. Photo: Dr Thomas Kleinteich, Kiel University.

“I work as a research associate on a project into the sticky characteristics of amphibian tongues”, says Dr Thomas Kleinteich, from the Functional Morphology and Biomechanics working group at the Zoological Institute at Kiel University. He generates three-dimensional computer models of animals using a micro-CT scanner, which works in a similar way to a medical CT scanner but is designed for investigating small objects. Kleinteich: “To do so, I use museum specimens conserved in alcohol. In this case, it is a South-American horned frog Ceratophrys from the collection at the Zoological Museum in Hamburg.” When analysing the scan, Kleinteich found that another animal was present inside the frog: “We have known for a while that horned frogs are able to eat very large prey. Last year I was able to show experimentally, that horned frogs can produce extremely strong adhesive strength with their tongues, which they also need in order to catch larger prey. With the micro-CT I am able to show, for the first time, how such a large catch can even fit inside a horned frog.” The image of the frog with a frog in its throat won a competition in May from the CT-manufacturing company “Bruker microCT”.

Original publication:
Kleinteich, Thomas: “To have a frog in the throat: micro-CT imaging of anuran prey in Ceratophrys ornata (Anura: Ceratophryidae)”, in: SALAMANDRA – German Journal of Herpetology, Volume 51, No. 2, June 30th 2015.