Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2017


Poison frogs possess a diversity of skin alkaloids that serve as defense against predation and inhibit microbial infection. These alkaloid defenses are exclusively obtained from a diet of alkaloid-containing arthropods and differ significantly with species, geographic location, sex, size, and age. Previous research on the chemical ecology of these defenses has been largely dependent on sacrificing frogs to extract and chemically analyze alkaloids. Recently, a new non-destructive method of extracting alkaloids has been developed, using a Transcutaneous Amphibian Stimulator (TAS). This device delivers mild electrical pulses to the frog skin, causing it to release its alkaloids unharmed. The alkaloids can then be collected and extracted for analysis. The present study aims to develop a relationship between these two methods of extracting frog alkaloids, which may reduce the need to sacrifice frogs in studying the ecology and evolution of chemical defenses in poison frogs.

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