Nov 15, 2015

Ant and mite diversity drives toxin variation in the Little Devil poison frog

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jenna R McGuganLauren O'Connell


Poison frogs sequester chemical defenses from arthropod prey, although the details of how arthropod diversity contributes to variation in poison frog toxins remains unclear. We characterized skin alkaloid profiles in the Little Devil frog, Oophaga sylvatica (Dendrobatidae), across three populations in northwestern Ecuador. Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, we identified histrionicotoxins, 3,5- and 5,8-disubstituted indolizidines, decahydroquinolines, and lehmizidines as the primary alkaloid toxins in these O. sylvatica populations. Frog skin alkaloid composition varied along a latitudinal gradient across populations in a principal component analysis. We also characterized diversity in arthropods isolated from frog stomach contents and confirmed O. sylvatica specialize on ants and mites. To test the hypothesis that poison frog toxin diversity reflects species and chemical diversity in arthropod prey, we (1) used liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to chemically profile consumed ants and mites, and (2) used sequencing of cytochrome oxidase 1 to identify individual prey specimens. We show that chemical profiles of consumed ants and mites cluster by frog population, suggesting different frog populations have access to...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Plant alkaloid
Cytochrome C Oxidase
Gastric Content
Carex sylvatica
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Nucleic Acid Sequencing

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