Why Don’t Blue Poison Dart Frogs Poison Themselves?


Bright blue poison dart frogs and some birds have evolved a unique way to avoid poisoning themselves but not in a way anyone can predict.

Since harmful substances frequently unleash havoc by locking an enzyme or receptor. A cunning method to stay away from the taste of your own medicine is to evolve another arrangement of locks to your deadly keys.

But this is not a method that nature has chosen for toxin-producing dart frogs and birds to evolve.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University, and the California Academy of Sciences investigates dart frogs. And they suggest these blue color amphibians and birds instead may shield themselves from the poison’s impacts by depending on a protein to absorb it before it causes issues.

This study tells us about the defense strategies against toxins, and this study can be used in discovering new antidotes to toxic compounds.

Certain beetles produce batrachotoxin, and in dart frogs intaking the beetles gives a lethal boost. This toxin can paralyze and kill humans and other species who come into contact with it. But this toxin does not paralyze frogs even if they are injected with toxins.


Hooded Pitohui:

A small, drab bird lives in a forest of New Guinea with a lethal secret. The term used for it is hooded pitohui, and it has orange, dark blue, and black feathers bound with venom.

Just touching the feathers of a pitohui is sufficient to burn your hands with poison. And ingesting a small amount of toxin called batrachotoxin can stop sodium channels throughout your body and lead to death instantly.

“You can think about these poisons as kind of a natural drug; it’s something that the animals use to protect themselves because it,” says Daniel Minor. He is a biophysicist at the University of California, San Francisco’s Cardiovascular Research Institute. “Either give a very unpleasant feeling to the thing that’s trying to eat them, or in the worst case, it kills the thing that’s trying to eat them,” he further added.



Blue Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobates Azureus):

Poison dart- a dark blue poison dart frog, lives in the forest surrounded by Sipaliwini Savanna in southern Suriname. They have toxins in their skin that can kill potential predators immediately. But they lose poisonous abilities while captivating because they are raised on fruit flies, beetles, and crickets.

Its life span is 5 to 15 years in the wild, and they are only active during the day. They are commonly found in South America, and their bright blue color serves as a warning to predators. They live in different habitats ranging from warm to moist atmospheres in some areas.

The males produce quiet calls for reproducing, which the female frog tracks to follow down the males. Then the female lays eggs near water sources, and fertilization occurs externally. Once eggs are laid, males cover them with their sperms, and the eggs hatch after 14-18 days.

For the time being, studies have suggested that shunting protein protects frogs. And researchers are still looking for more evidence to find out the exact cause.