Research papers

CHEMOECOLOGY

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 57-62

Systemic retention of ingested cantharidin by frogs

  • Thomas EisnerAffiliated withSection of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University
  • , Jeffrey ConnerAffiliated withSection of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University
  • , James E. CarrelAffiliated withDivision of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
  • , John P. McCormickAffiliated withDivision of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
  • , Amy J. SlagleAffiliated withDivision of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
  • , Carl GansAffiliated withDivision of Biological Sciences, University of Michigan
  • , James C. O'ReillyAffiliated withDivision of Biological Sciences, University of Michigan

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Summary

Frogs(Rana pipiens) fed on blister beetles (Meloidae) or cantharidin, retain cantharidin systemically. After cessation of feeding, they void the compound relatively quickly. Systemic cantharidin does not protect frogs against ectoparasitic feeding by leeches(Hirudo medicinalis) or predation by snakes(Nerodia sipedon). As suggested by our data, and from reports in the early literature, ingestion of cantharidin-containing frogs can pose a health threat to humans.

Key words

toxin sequestration predation human dietary hazard cantharidin Coleoptera Meloidae Epicauta vittata Rana Hirudo Nerodia