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Venomous Frogs

August 10, 2015

A tropical frog delivers a painful surprise.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

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Greening’s frog, Corythomantis greeningi. (Carlos Jared/Butantan Institute)

Frogs that could make you croak. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A Brazilian herpetologist recently discovered the first venomous frog. And according to his colleague, Utah State University, herpetologist Edmund Brodie, he did it the hard way.

EDMUND BRODIE (Utah State University):

Carlos Jared grabbed one of these frogs, and it jabbed him, and it caused excruciating, immediate pain that radiated up his arm.

HIRSHON:

In the journal Current Biology, the researchers explain that when threatened, the frog presses spines in the front of its skull right through poison glands in its upper lip, and into the skin of its attacker. Brodie says the toxin is twice as powerful as that of deadly Brazilian pit viper. And while Jared survived his encounter, he’s fortunate he didn’t grab a second species of venomous frog the team found: it has venom twenty-five times more potent than the first. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.