Animal Behavior Videos

I hope you enjoy these videos showing different aspects of animal behavior. If you have any questions about these videos, or would like to use them, please contact me, Mike Benard, via email: mfbenard (at) gmail com.

Table of Contents:
Dance of the Beech Blight Aphids
Dragonfly Danger: Predation on tadpoles
Salamanders Eating in the Rain
Green Frog Eating Wood Frog Tadpoles
Spider Rain Posture
Sea Otter in Surf
Killdeer in Sizzling Basin
End of the Brood V Cicadas, 2016
Battling Elephant Seals
Green Frog eating its own skin
back to home

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This mess of white blobs is a group of Beech Blight Aphids (Grylloprociphilus imbricator). The white color comes from waxy secretions that the aphids produce. They do the wiggling dance to scare away predators. Here you can see how they respond when I gently disturb them with my finger. The video ends with a close-up of the aphids. The sound of rain in the forest canopy can be heard in the background.

Frog tadpoles and salamander larvae face many predators during their aquatic life stage. This video shows Wood Frog Tadpoles and Ambystoma salamander larvae interacting with dragonfly nymphs in a woodland vernal pool. Warning: it contains a graphic view of a dragonfly nymph eating a tadpole.

I spotted these salamanders crawling on trees hunting bugs one rainy night in September 2016. The first video in the playlist shows a redback salamander shooting its tongue at some insects. It happens fast, so at the end of the video I added a slow-motion sequence of the tongue shooting out. The second video shows a red eft also trying to catch insects with its tongue.

This male green frog was sitting in a small woodland vernal pool. As woodfrog tadpoles swam around him, he quickly ducked his head under the water. I suspected he was trying to eat the tadpoles, but I wasn't sure at first if he was able to catch any. Then I spotted the tadpole tail sticking out of his mouth!

I took this video of rain posture in a yellow garden spider in August 2016 during a visit to South Carolina. Through several heavy thunderstorms, this spider would hang from the web by its back legs.

This Sea Otter was swimming around in the surf of Monterey Bay in July 2017. It would backfloat on the surface for a while, munching on its prey, then dive back undewater. It seemed quite content to cruise the waves.

This Killdeer was hunting for food around the Sizzling Basin, found within Yellowstone National Park's Mud Volcano area in July 2017. I also added this Killdeer Observation to iNaturalist. From reading the NPS website, it appears that the bubbling is from various gasses - including hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide - bubbling out of the ground. The water and mud can also get very hot here!

This playlist shows some battered Brood V cicadas near the end of their lives. Despite missing big chunks of their bodies, they are still crawling, flapping wings, and trying to sing.

Two elephant seals battle each other at Año Nuevo State Park. They smack their necks together and threaten each other with gaping mouths and impressive teeth. Eventually the loser retreats into the surf and the winner returns to the beach. In the background a few kids can be heard in awe of the battling marine mammals.

This juvenile green frog goes through a very stereotyped behavior as it sheds and eats its own skin. It first rotates its hind leg, then rotates its front leg, and finally opens and closes its mouth. Watch carefully, and you will see a string of skin slide slowly into the frog's mouth over the course of several cycles of this behavior.

All text and photographs � Michael F. Benard
email contact: mfbenard -{at}- gmail dot com

Some more pages on herps and natural history:
Pacific Chorus Frog Natural History Snake Image Gallery Spotted Salamander Button
frog mating with salamander Telling apart male and female frogs Kingsnake eating a garter snake
Redback Salamander Mother with Eggs Coloring page of snakes Snake eats frog