beautiful and poisonous the most dangerous frogs on earth


Published on January 21st, 2013


Beautiful and Poisonous: The most Dangerous Frogs on Earth

We often think of mundane creatures like frogs as nice, with unmistakable appearance, which mainly inhabits freshwater ponds and lakes. Some people consider disgusting, obviously erroneous presumption based solely on our arbitrary conception of beauty. Others realized their importance in the functioning of habitats. Much of frog skin secretions use to defend themselves. The climax of this method of self-defense was met by a group of South American frogs that have reached such a degree of specialization that their secretions are among the most dangerous toxic substances produced by any animal.

Amphibians to power

Amphibian World conquered almost all continents except Antarctica. The more than 5,000 species of frog are found from the tropics to subarctic regions, are among the most diverse class of vertebrates. However, some populations are endangered. Pollution (let us remember that frogs breathe through their skin mostly) global warming phenomenon characterized by more frequent droughts and increasing anthropogenic pressure are serious threats for all amphibians.

Frogs lay their eggs in ponds and lakes, and are living exclusively aquatic tadpoles until they reach adulthood. All adult frogs, regardless of species, are some unexpected and powerful miniature carnivores. They feed mainly on arthropods, annelids and gastropods.

In addition to their important and complex ecological role frogs play a different role arguably as important, the culture and mythology of many peoples. Famous fables, literature, symbolism and even religion, frogs are popular now and in the role of pets.

Many frog have toxic secretions defense role. We have in our fauna two such representations: common toad (Bufo bufo) and green toad (Bufo viridis). However, neither of the two species listed here are not even jokingly compares in terms of toxicity with poisonous frogs from South America.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo) most toxic amphibian specie in Europe

In fact, most species of frogs have toxic skin secretions. These effects of the discharge range from simple irritation to hallucinations, culminating with the death unlucky predator.

Poisons in question are produced and metabolized by the body of these frogs and ants arthropods they eat. Other species, such as Coroboree frogs of Australia (Pseudophryne coroboree and P. pengilleyi) can create an alkaloid which comes from the food we ingest.

The terrible frog poison

The most dangerous species is the famous golden arrow frog (Phyllobates teribilis). Mentioned above, produce a true cocktail of Hades, consisting of steroidal alkaloid batrachotoxine, homobatrachotoxin and batrachotoxinin type A. These compounds are highly potent modulators of absorption of sodium channels, functioning to maintain open channels and depolarizând irreversible nerve and muscle cells.

Leading to arrhythmias, atrial and even cardiac arrest (according to the authors E. Albuquerque and J. Daly - 1977). When these toxins somehow get in contact with human skin results in a horrible burning sensation that lasts a few hours. Batrachotoxina can produce strong feelings of numbness and local, and for this reason some researchers are considering using it for the production of biological drugs painkillers.

Each golden arrow frog can produce about 1,900 micrograms of batrachotoxin and homobatrachotoxin, which is a record of the species in the family Dendrobatidae.

In the experiments it was found that the lethal dose for a mouse is only 0.5 micrograms subcutaneously. And hence one golden arrow frog contains enough toxin to kill many mice around 22,000.

Beautiful and deadly golden arrow frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

It is not known exactly lethal dose for humans, but researchers estimate that 200 micrograms as the amount that would send any man on the other side. Similarly, a single copy is enough poison to kill two African elephants!

Moreover, in the same vein estimates apparently one more poison frog contains enough to kill 10-20 people. Especially interesting is that golden arrow frogs hatched and raised in captivity do not contain traces of toxins …

No it doesn not contain batrachotoxin tadpoles, but a juvenile specimen 27 mm long, already contained 200 micrograms of poison, and hence batrachotoxic alkaloids are synthesized immediately after the tadpole metamorphosis. This batrachotoxin is very rare among amphibians, except Phyllobates teribilis species, only three other tropical frog species contain terrible toxin. Coincidentally or not, all three species live high in the jungles of Colombia.

It is worth mentioning that batrachotoxin were also found in feathers, but not in the skin of Passeriformes (order of birds sparrows, finches, Goldfinch, crows) Papua New Guinea Island. Like birds Pitohui (Pitohui dichorus, P. kirhocephalus), with Ifrita kowladi species have a high concentration of toxins in the plumage of the chest, abdomen and legs. Both the toxins and their type varies considerably from species to species, and from population to population, in addition varies seasonally, which means that toxins are stored and summarized in a food source in the environment.

According to research, the source is Choresine beetle genus, family Melyridae, known for their high content batrachotoxin, which were discovered in the stomach of birds Pitohui debris.

The most poisonous creatures

Golden arrow frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is found in the forests lush Pacific Coast of Colombia. Herpetology discovered that its ideal biotope consists of rainforest situated at an altitude of 100-200 meters, where humidity reaches unity impressive 80-90% and the temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

In the wild, P. terribilis is a sociable frog, living in small groups of 5-6 copies. However, under conditions of captivity, the world’s most deadly frog can live in larger groups. It is truly a terrible creature. We know many cases of people who died after reaching directly the frogs. Similarly, chickens and dogs died instantly after reaching even accidental contact with pieces of newspaper over the previously transgressed these frogs.

This frogs skin  (females reach a maximum length of about 47 mm and males 45 mm) is covered by glands that secrete batrachotoxin. Dorsal color has shades of bright yellow, orange or metallic green, depending on where frogs were collected. Some individuals may have intense orange or yellow. Ventral color is slightly lighter than the back, except limbs with a blackish shades inside. It’s a diurnal species and predominantly terrestrial. Are not fearful, nor the appearance of other animals or humans. If he only knew how dangerous they really are!

Some studies showed that golden arrow frog is actually containing the most dangerous poison is slightly more toxic than even the much feared and famous sea wasp (Chironex fleckery) a cubo-medusa considered among the most poisonous creatures the animal kingdom.

Golden arrow frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

Has two relatives, frogs species Phyllobates aurotaenia and Phyllobates bicolor, but not as poisonous as she is. Arrow frog toxins are synthesized from their bodies by eating small insects and arthropods. Researchers believe the insect that contribute to the high content of batrachotoxin is a bug Melyridae family, one of the most common species of insects that feed these frogs.

Due to its extremely high toxicity, golden arrow frog has no natural enemies, save the snakes of the species Leimadophis ephinephelus. Over the millennia snake has developed a unique immunity to toxins secreted by South American frogs.

Ephinephelus Limadophis serpent species is not one of  impressive dimensions (reaches only 50 inches long), and feeds only juvenile specimens of golden arrow frog because adults are too large for him and have deposits of toxins in doses too large even for that specialized in hunting frogs poisonous snake.

And what agreement hath the most poisonous creature with people?

Golden arrow frog intact jungles prefer just as wild and avoid at all costs cultivated land, deforested areas, including young rainforest. For this reason it is a species very sensitive to any form of anthropogenic pressure. Address major threats are posed by pollution from pesticides and fertilizer substances spread over crops. Other crop species are the issues for agriculture and grazing, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation even alongside trade in rare animals.

Meandering Amazon River that runs through the jungle

How golden arrow frog is the most poisonous creature it has not escaped the notice of  Columbian Native American Indians. Therefore Cofan natives tribes Cochobo and poison their arrows heads with this species. Before turning to hunting tribes mentioned warriors catch one frog then rubs slightly (not necessarily a small amount of poison, or downed animal meat becomes unfit for consumption) peaks of small arrows. Unfortunate animal that becomes the target gets poisoned arrows of instant death, in both toxins are powerful and effective frogs.

However, their incomparable even poison can not save it from extinction. If people do not stop deforestation and pollution unlimited primordial jungle in Colombia, most poisonous creatures in the world will disappear quickly and safely with many other species of plants and animals, some of which have not yet been discovered and cataloged by science.

And people will continue to be the most “toxic” species on this planet.


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