In Brazil, a group of researchers found a couple of poisonous frog species that are like nothing they had seen before. The tiny creatures do not only release deadly toxins through their skin, but they also have a series of spikes on their heads and backs that deliver the toxins directly into their victims.
Researchers noted that one single gram of these frogs’ poison could kill up to 80 people. The two species, dubbed Corythomantis greeningi (pictured) and Aparasphenodon brunois, are even deadlier than pit vipers, biologists claim, for at least two reasons – the toxicity of their secretions and their skull spikes that ensure poison hits its target.
The research team found that the animals can headbutt predators to death in life-threatening situations.
Other studies had shown that frog species include some specimens that are among the most poisonous amphibians on Earth including Colombia’s golden poison dart frog that can kill up to 10 adults and whose toxin is used by natives to coat their blowgun darts.
But the team who discovered the new species found about their toxicity the hard way. Carlos Jared, lead author of the research and senior researcher at Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Brazil, touched by accident the bonny spikes on the frog’s head.
He said that he experienced intense, radiating pain for more than five hours after the encounter. Luckily, the species that injured Prof. Jared was the least toxic in the two newly found species.
“We have not experienced the effect of the venom of the most toxic species, and hope we do not,”
he recently said.
After some simple calculations, scientists found that a gram of poison taken from Aparasphenodon brunoi could spell death to over 300,000 mice and up to 80 adults, while the same quantity of poison taken from Corythomantis greeningi, the species that had attacked Dr. Jared, could put over 24,000 mice and roughly six human adults to their final resting places. The team noted that the venom of a common pit viper found in Brazil is up to 25 times less dangerous than the first frog species and half as deadly as the latter species.
Scientists wrote in a paper on the recent discovery that they were surprised by the high skin toxicity of the newly found species and the unique way they transmit their toxic secretions as a venom.
The Brazilian frogs are equipped with bonny spikes around their nose, jaws and on their backs. Whenever a predator grabs them, they use their unusually flexible neck to move their heads upward and downward and jab and rub their toxin-laden spikes on whatever touched them. Though Corythomantis greeningi releases a less toxic poison, it releases it in larger quantities than its newly found peer, study authors noted. Until now the two species have no known predator which is no surprise if we look at the recent findings.
Image Source: Live Science
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