Poisonous frogs face greater risk of extinction

London, Oct 20 (IANS) Amphibians that use toxins to protect themselves against predators are at a higher risk of extinction than those who use other types of defence, new research has found.

“There are a number of plausible reasons why the use of chemical defence might lead to higher extinction rates,” said study lead author Kevin Arbuckle University of Liverpool in England.

“For example, it could be that there is trade off which leaves prey vulnerable to other kinds of enemies, such as infectious diseases, but we do not yet understand what drives the relationship,” Arbuckle noted.

As part of nature’s evolutionary arms race, animals have evolved a whole host of different defence mechanisms, including chemical defences, such as poisons or irritants, camouflage, warning colouration and mimicry.

The team examined how rates of extinction and speciation – the formation of new species – varied across different defensive traits in amphibians.

They found that animals that use chemical defence show higher rates of speciation, but also higher rates of extinction, compared to those without, leading to a net reduction in species diversification (the interplay of speciation and extinction).

In contrast, the use of warning colouration and mimicry was associated with higher rates of speciation, but unchanged rates of extinction.

“In addition, our findings could help support the conservation of endangered species by allowing some predictability of extinction risk from knowledge of antipredator defences. Amphibians are a key example of this as they have suffered population declines worldwide, including many of the iconic poison-dart frogs,” Arbuckle noted.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of www.mangalorean.com or any employee thereof. www.mangalorean.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of www.mangalorean.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at  info@mangalorean.com. Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here