Poison Dart frogs

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Poison Dart frogs

Post  Admin on Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:47 pm

Poison Dart Frogs, in the family Dendrobatidae, are sometimes referred to as “Dart Frogs” or “Poison Frogs” and are perhaps some of the most beautiful of all the South American Rainforest creatures. Poison Dart Frogs are small forest dwelling frogs ranging in size from just over 2 centimeters as with the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates pumilio), to the larger 3 inch Dyeing Poison Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius).Poison Dart Frogs were obviously named after the poison they secrete from their skin. With skin secretions so toxic that they are used by indigenous populations to poison the tips of hunting arrows, are one of several groups of animals capable of sequestering deadly compounds from dietary sources without being harmed. Until now, it was believed that ants were the primary source of these defensive skin alkaloids in frogs. So if it's not the ants then whats creating the toxins in wild dart frogs???

SO if not the ants then shall we enter mites ?

A screening of ants, mites, and other arthropods collected from the native habitat of the Central American poison frog Oophaga pumilio for various alkaloids, were they found more than 80 alkaloids present in free-living, soil-dwelling oribatid mites. Of these toxic compounds, 42 were present in the skin glands of O. pumilio, suggesting that mites are the dominant source for frog poison.

"So It turns out that mites are the primary dietary source of alkaloids,"... "The dogma for years was that ants were the primary source. In fact, ants were thought to be evolutionarily significant to frogs, but now it turns out that mites are probably more important, certainly in terms of the number and diversity of alkaloids."

"Reduced arthropod diversity or differences in arthropod diversity among locations likely affects the composition of alkaloids that are found in frogs," so "It is possible that these differences may affect frog toxicity."

The conclusion that poison frogs' toxic alkaloids are derived from their prey explains why frogs reared in captivity lack the toxic defense of their counterparts in the wild. It also supports the observation that when poison frogs are introduced to non-native places like Hawaii their toxic alkaloids are different. Evidently, introduced frogs are feeding on different species of mites and ants which have their own set of alkaloids.


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