Brazilian Frogs Are More Venomous Than Snakes

Posted: Aug 7 2015, 4:36am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 7 2015, 4:38am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Brazilian Frogs are More Venomous than Snakes
Carlos Jared/Butantan Institute
  • Certain Venomous Frogs are Deadlier than Pit Vipers

Certain species of venomous Brazilian frogs are deadlier than those snakes called pit vipers.

A poison dart frog is not going to be on anyone’s menu. But did you know that this sort of frog is unapproachable too. That is because these venomous creatures can use the bony spines in their faces. And they use them to inflict wounds upon their enemies.

The venom is worse than that of a pit viper. Aparasphenodon brunoi and Corythomantis greeningi are two frogs from the rainforests of Brazil. These creatures will give you the shock of a lifetime if you try to get frank with them. They happen to be the only venomous frogs around for miles.

"Discovering a truly venomous frog is nothing any of us expected, and finding frogs with skin secretions more venomous than those of the deadly pit vipers of the genus Bothrops was astounding," says Edmund Brodie, Jr. of Utah State University.

A biologist learned about the real nature of the frogs. Edmund Brodie was into the study of frogs since eons. He got fascinated to learn that these two frogs have no other animal above them on the food chain.

When he tried to handle one of them, it stabbed him in the hand. What followed was excruciating pain that lasted for five hours. Brodie was lucky since he had picked the less dangerous one of the two. The other one would have killed him on the spot.

Many frogs can ooze poison from their skins. But these two frogs are not only poisonous but venomous. This means that they will hurt you in a proactive manner. The bony spines in their skulls are small and deadly. Through these projections they inject venom into any creature that provokes them.

These two species of frogs have existed for hundreds of years. What was unknown was that they were a liability to man as well. A single secretion from the A. brunoi could lead to the death of 300,000 mice. That roughly adds up to 80 human beings.

"It is unlikely that a frog of this species produces this much toxin, and only very small amounts would be transferred by the spines into a wound," Brodie says. "Regardless, we have been unwilling to test this by allowing a frog to jab us with its spines."

These frog species deserve analysis by science. But extreme precautions must follow. They have evolved deadly methods of taking care of themselves. Human beings ought to be careful while handling them. Nobody wants to die writhing on the floor after an attack by A. brunoi.

The study will have to use indirect methods. The frogs will get observed from a distance. No other method will do since they are so venomous. Nature provides some species with excellent means of self-defense. These two species of frogs happen to be among the kind that can protect themselves. And they can do it with complete discretion.

This study published in Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 6.

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