We often hear the phase “You Are What You Eat” as it relates to being healthy, but this phrase in the animal kingdom, particularly with Flamingos and Frogs, is even more key to their nature.
Flamingos are rather well known as a pink bird. One should be aware though that these birds are not pink by nature or design, rather than by what they eat. When flamingos feast on shrimp (and other things) their color becomes bright pink, but it is not the shrimp that directly cause the color of these birds, rather something the shrimp have been eating.
A dull colored flamingo is typically ill, underfed, or has been eating a different diet (as when kept in captivity). They become superbly colored as the result of the bacteria, alpha, and beta carotenes, in their correct diet, which may include shrimp, prawns, and plankton. In fact it is the plankton – specifically blue green algae which give the birds their color. Birds who eat more of the blue green algae are darker, with some color coming indirectly through the algae when they eat other animals (shrimp) that have eaten the algae themselves.
Frogs, and specifically those commonly known as Poison Dart, or Poison Arrow, frogs (Dendrobates) are also influenced by what they eat. These frogs are best known for having a toxin on their skin that can be used to poison the arrow tips of darts and then used for hunting and bringing down rather large game.
For the longest time nobody was really certain where these toxins came from, however their bright colors attracted the interest of the pet trade. Keepers of these exotic pets soon found (and don’t ask me how) that captive frogs tended to lose their toxicity, with some species becoming virtually non-toxic. As such the hobby keepers suggested that the frogs gained their toxins primarily by eating toxic bugs, centipedes, ants, and so forth, since in the pet trade they are primarily fed young crickets.
As you see by these two examples what you eat does matter.
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