Dart Frog Research Paper

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What could be more poisonous than Curare, Tetrodotoxin, and Cyanide? Would you believe a frog, smaller than a dime, is much more toxic than these. There are over 175 species of Poison Dart Frogs that live in the jungles of Central and South America (Poison Dart Frog, n.d.). According to Wallace (2014), these “amphibians have provided scientists with a diverse array of over 800 biologically active alkaloid [a compound created in organisms used for chemical defense]”. The smallest Dart Frog is 1.2 cm and the largest Dart Frogs are no larger than 6 cm long. Both an adult and baby Dart Frog contain deadly Batrachotoxin (Gruber, 2015). The toxin Batrachotoxin, is an alkaloid with the molecular formula C_31 H_42 N_2 O_6 (BATRACHOTOXIN, n.d.).
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The Émbera tribe uses the Batrachotoxin from the Golden Dart Frogs to lace their darts for their blow-darts, and their arrows, which is why the Poisonous Dart Frogs are sometimes referred to the Poisonous Arrow Frogs (Poison dart frog, n.d.). According to Gruber (2015), The Emberá tribe would “catch the frogs in the woods, and confine them in a hollow cane. When they needed poison, they would take a frog and pass a pointed piece of wood down his throat, and out at one of his legs”, the other method of attaining BTX, is when the frogs would become agitated and start to sweat BTX, resulting in the toxin to appear on the frogs back, the natives would then dip their darts into the white milky substance. The darts would then remain potent for up to a year. However, because of the deforestation in Central and South America, the Dart Frogs are slowly dying off. They are now considered a threatened species (Poison dart frogs,…show more content…
Their hunting grounds where the animals would have normally been, is getting smaller meaning that if the deforestation continues, the natives will soon be fighting over resources to survive, or they will have to use modern methods which will only draw them further away from their traditions. If the Dart Frog species continues to drop in numbers, scientists and doctors will no longer be able to use the alkaloids Epibatidine and Phantasmidine, found in some Dart Frogs, to help with medicinal purposes, such as numbing pain or to be used for research regarding cancer treatment (Gruber, 2015). Karl Gruber (2015) also states that the Dart Frogs are at risk from a fungus called Chytridiomycosis, which kills amphibians by infecting their skin. According to Amphibian Ark, Chytridiomycosis, or Bd, occurs inside the cells of the outer skin layers that contain large amounts of Keratin. With Bd, the skin becomes very thick due to the microscopic change in the skin that Pathologists call Hyperplasia (the enlargement of an organ or tissue) and Hyperkeratosis (the abnormal thickening of the out layer of the skin). This is dangerous to amphibians because amphibians absorb water and important salts (electrolytes) like Sodium and Potassium through their skin instead of their mouth. The abnormal levels of electrolytes causes the heart to

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