The early 2000s were a great time to study amphibians in Panama. At night, dozens of species sang out in chorus while researchers measured and photographed frogafter frog, often hiking to remote sites hours from the nearest road. Jamie Voyles and Cori Richards-Zawacki were both graduate students at the time, just at the start of their scientific careers, and Panama’s amphibians offered a plethora of research possibilities. Continue reading Frog skin secretions offer the first ray of hope in a deadly fungal epidemic
Poison dart frogs have an ominous and well-deserved reputation as a lot of death stuffed into a teeny, neon package, and none is more dangerous than Colombia’s golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis). With skin slaked with enough of the potently neurotoxic batrachotoxin (BTX) to kill a staggering 20,000 mice, the golden poison frog somehow doesn’t poison itself. A team of scientists have now pinpointed how the frogs survive their lethal secretions: a single genetic mutation that results in full immunity to BTX.
Introducing Hyalinobatrachium yaku, a newly-discovered species of glassfrog that lives in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador. Like other glassfrogs, it features transparent skin on its belly, but this tiny critter takes things to another level by exposing the entire contents of its underside—heart and head included.
It’s common sense that you shouldn’t try to eat a poison dart frog. But you probably don’t want to go anywhere near one of these adorable little suckers, which use the tiny, bony spines on their faces to jab threatening animals with a venom more potent than that of a deadly pit viper.