Some animals swallow their prey whole and some even dine on their quarry while it’s still alive, but few can do so and produce the kind of jaw-dropping marvel that takes place when a frog eats a firefly:

This frog is lit.

This remarkable clip was recently featured on Geekologie, along with a second video of a different firefly-gobbling frog that was uploaded to YouTube by Beverly McCord last month:

Another lit frog.

It seems then that frogs are partial to the occasional light snack. But could this glowing meal be a dangerous one? Fireflies produce their characteristic blinking through some nifty chemistry. The magic happens in a special light-emitting organ located in the firefly’s lower abdomen. The organ contains an enzyme called luciferase, a chemical known as luciferin and the bioluminescent enzyme adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

When oxygen is added to the mix, it sparks a chemical reaction that creates light. Fireflies get their shine on for a variety of reasons that vary depending upon the species and age of the glow bug. Some adult fireflies use distinctive flash patterns to identify other individuals from the same species or to figure out which of the other flashers could be a willing mate.

Research has revealed that female fireflies show a preference for males with a brighter glow and a faster blinking pattern (in some species it pays to be flashy).

However, the glow can also serve as a deterrent to predators. Much like the vibrant pattern of a toxic caterpillar, the flash of a firefly’s abdomen is a literal warning light signalling that the bugs may be poisonous if eaten.

“We're pretty sure from reconstructing the firefly phylogeny that firefly light first evolved as a warning signal, and it was educating predators about these chemical defenses," Sara Lewis, a professor of evolutionary and behavioural ecology at Tufts University, told Live Science. Several of North America’s some 2,000 species of firefly produce lucibufagins – a highly toxic defensive steroid that can be deadly to birds, frogs and reptiles.

It’s unclear if the frogs in theses videos survived their luminescent meals. Perhaps they munched on one of the few species of firefly that don’t pack fatal lucibufagins, or maybe these amphibians have developed some kind of immunity to the toxins. Or it's possible that their meals were still too fresh to have had any toxic effect yet.

Clearly we need more footage of frogs eating fireflies to figure this one out …

Header: Dag Ågren/Flickr