Darien Stubfoot Toad
© 2012 Abel Batista (1 of 13)
Distribution and Habitat
Harlequin toads (Atelopus) are renowned for their toxicity, but how much is really known about their chemical defense strategies and characteristics? Pearson and Tarvin (2022) review Atelopus chemical defense literature and find that only 16 of the 100 known species have been assessed for toxins. Furthermore, South American species – which make up the vast majority of Atelopus diversity – have received disproportionately little investigation relative to Central American species. Surveyed Atelopus possess individual toxins (chiriquitoxin and zetekitoxin) and toxin combinations found nowhere else in nature, and the authors suggest that the genus contains further unidentified toxin diversity that – in the face of catastrophic population declines – may be lost to science. The authors also trace the development of toxin detection and quantification methods applied to Atelopus, noting impacts of historical methodological limitations on chemical defense data and identifying promising techniques for future studies. Lastly, given the limited information available regarding Atelopus predators, they speculate about possible immunological and ecological roles of Atelopus toxins. Time to study many harlequin toad species may be limited, but Pearson and Tarvin make the case for continued chemical defense research on this genus. (Kannon Pearson)
Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2022-02-27)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Atelopus certus: Darien Stubfoot Toad <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/39> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 22, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 May 2022.
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