Tree frog on titan beetle.
Tree frog on titan beetle by Swedish photographer Nicolas Reusens Boden. via laughingsquid

Among the delights in viewing a firehose blast of images is that you get unexpected ahas.  Ever notice how common it is for one species to hitch a ride on top of another?  Rarely do any of the unticketed travelers face backwards, they know their direction.  Tree frog on titan beetle by Swedish photographer Nicolas Reusens Boden — he calls it The Knight and His Steed —  shows the frog intent on its journey.  And uninterested in the beetle’s substantial weaponry.  The frog’s a hefty weight on the beetle.  Do they have an understanding that we can’t yet decode?

Surveying my collection Hitchhikers on Pinterest (the firehose mentioned above) you can see the varying circumstances that the hitching takes place in. Some, like a ladybug riding the back of a mantis, may not trigger anger, annoyance, response.  Others — a horse ferrying a dog across a river — one assumes the horse understands the predicament.  It could easily shake the dog back into the waters.  A young crocodile riding a hippo. a small crab mounted on a jellyfish, a big fat snail glommed on a wee turtle, a cat asleep on a penned sheep.  Adventitious adventurers who may or may not be aware whereon they sit.

A different case is when a parental animal carries one or a raft of offspring.  This is a practical matter — mom knows where the kids are and everyone touches and bonds.

Who thought the animal kingdom took joyrides on each other?  They do.

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