Arthropods as vertebrate brood predators: observations required

Hi all,
I am currently looking into the prevalence and effects of arthropods as predators of vertebrate brood. To do so, I’m building a database consisting of observations of arthropods predating vertebrate young that are dependent on parental care, in terrestrial systems (think for example of nestlings in birds or young mammals).
So if you have observed such a predation event (or know anyone who has), please share it with me with as much detail as possible!
Thanks in advance for your help

See this video for an excellent example:

6 Comments
  1. Peter Apps 3 months ago

    I recall a paper on ants attacking a nest of baby mice in the Kruger Park – speculation being that the litter’s mother had excavated into an underground ants’ nest. Probably in the SOuth African Journal of Zoology fromthe mid 1980s ?? I imagine that you will get a lot of ant attacks.

    • Profile photo of MaxVerheij Author
      MaxVerheij 2 months ago

      Thank you for your reply, I’ll have look and see whether I’m able to locate the paper! (:

  2. Stefanie 3 months ago

    You could contact the researchers of EVECO research group at University of Antwerp. They study ticks, including tick-host interactions in nestbox-breeding birds.
    https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/eveco/research/main-ongoing-project/hostparasiteinteractionsinbirds/

  3. VLADIMIR DINETS 3 months ago

    Any biologist in southeastern US, particularly in Louisiana, can tell you tons of horror stories about fire ants. There was a paper somewhere about them killing alligator hatchlings in nests, and they are a major problem for native vertebrates in general.j I’ve seen killdeer chicks and newborn muskrats swarmed and killed. I also know of a case when they killed an
    entire litter of mink pups.

    • Profile photo of MaxVerheij Author
      MaxVerheij 2 months ago

      Hello Vladimir,

      Thanks for the reply!
      I have indeed found a few papers on ants eating alligator hatchlings, crazy stuff!
      “I’ve seen killdeer chicks and newborn muskrats swarmed and killed. I also know of a case when they killed an
      entire litter of mink pups.” Do you have any more details on these observations (species of ant, number of vertebrates predated), or was it published by any chance? If so, you can always contact me at max.verheij@wur.nl (:

      Also, if it isn’t published, are you okay with me citing you in my research?

      • Profile photo of Vladimir Dinets
        Vladimir Dinets 2 months ago

        I just replied to your email. Sure, you are welcome to cite me 🙂

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