Navigation Links
Fitness tests for frogs?
Date:3/29/2011

Durham, NC The most toxic, brightly colored members of the poison frog family may also be the best athletes, says a new study.

So-named because some tribes use their skin secretions to poison their darts, the poison dart frogs of the Amazon jungle are well known for their bitter taste and beautiful colors. The spectacular hues of these forest frogs serve to broadcast their built-in chemical weapons: skin secretions containing nasty toxins called alkaloids. Like the red, yellow and black bands on a coral snake or the yellow stripes on a wasp, their contrasting color patterns warn would-be predators to stay away, said lead author Juan Santos of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC.

As it turns out, the most boldly-colored and bad-tasting species are also the most physically fit, the authors report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In forests in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panam, Santos subjected nearly 500 poison frogs representing more than 50 species to a frog fitness test. He measured their oxygen uptake during exercise using a rotating plastic tube, turning the tube like a hamster wheel to make the frogs walk.

Santos estimated the frogs' metabolic rates while at rest, and again after four minutes of exercise. The result? The most dazzling and deadly species had higher aerobic capacity than their drab, nontoxic cousins.

"They're better able to extract oxygen from each breath and transport it to their muscles, just like well-trained athletes," Santos said.

Poisonous species owe their athletic prowess to their unusual foraging habits, explained co-author David Cannatella of the University of Texas at Austin. Unlike snakes and other poisonous animals which make their own venom, poison frogs get their toxins from their food.

"They acquire their alkaloid chemicals by eating ants and mites," Cannatella said.

Because of their picky diet, poisonous frogs have to forage far and wide for food. "Nontoxic species basically stay in one place and don't move very much and eat any insect that comes close to them," Santos said. "But the bright, poisonous frogs are very picky about what they eat."

"It's not like a buffet where they can get everything they need to eat in one place," Cannatella added. "Ants and mites are patchy, so the frogs have to move around more to find enough food."

This combination of toxic skin and bold colors a syndrome known as aposematism evolved in tandem with specialized diet and physical fitness multiple times across the poison frog family tree, the authors explained. In some cases the frogs' physical fitness may have evolved before their unusual diet, making it possible to forage for harder-to-find food. But the specific sequence of events was likely different for different branches of the tree, Santos said.

The findings appear in the March 28 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robin Ann Smith
rsmith@nescent.org
919-668-4544
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Fitness in a changing world
2. Track your fitness, environmental impact with new cell phone applications
3. Astronauts may need more intense workouts to maintain muscle fitness in space
4. Key to evolutionary fitness: Cut the calories
5. Kids lose pounds, gain fitness in Houston study
6. A card-swipe for medical tests
7. Femtomolar optical tweezers may enable sensitive blood tests
8. Childrens Hospital scientists achieve repair of injured heart muscle in lab tests of stem cells
9. Caltech scientists develop barcode chip for cheap, fast blood tests
10. ESA tests laser to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide
11. Queens University Belfast plays leading role in Europe-wide tests for safer food
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fitness tests for frogs?
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung ... global partnership that will provide end customers with a ... and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, protecting ... has closed its Series A funding round, according to ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund that ... meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez . ... complete validation on the current projects in our pipeline, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, ... Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 ... presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of new ... at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life science ... early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner with ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... 2014 from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market is expected to ... from 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in 2015 to ... forecasts during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As ...
Breaking Biology Technology: