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Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 943–955 | Cite as

Dietary source for skin alkaloids of poison frogs (Dendrobatidae)?

  • John W. Daly
  • H. Martin Garraffo
  • Thomas F. Spande
  • César Jaramillo
  • A. Stanley Rand
Article

Abstract

A wide range of alkaloids, many of which are unknown elsewhere in nature, occur in skin of frogs. Major classes of such alkaloids in dendrobatid frogs are the batrachotoxins, pumiliotoxins, histrionicotoxins, gephyrotoxins, and decahydroquinolines. Such alkaloids are absent in skin of frogs (Dendrobates auratus) raised in Panama on wingless fruit flies in indoor terraria. Raised on leaf-litter arthropods that were collected in a mainland site, such terraria-raised frogs contain tricyclic alkaloids including the beetle alkaloid precoccinelline, 1,4-disubstituted quinolizidines, pyrrolizidine oximes, the millipede alkaloid nitropolyzonamine, a decahydroquinoline, a gephyrotoxin, and histrionicotoxins. The profiles of these alkaloids in the captive-raised frogs are closer to the mainland population ofDendrobates auratus at the leaf-litter site than to the parent population ofDendrobates auratus from a nearby island site. Extracts of a seven-month sampling of leaf-litter insects contained precoccinelline, pyrrolizidine oxime236 (major), and nitropolyzonamine (238). The results indicate a dietary origin for at least some “dendrobatid alkaloids,” in particular the pyrrolizidine oximes, the tricyclic coccinellines, and perhaps the histrionicotoxins and gephyrotoxins.

Key Words

Alkaloids indolizidines pyrrolizidines histrionicotoxins coccinellines dendrobatid frogs insects millipedes 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Daly
    • 1
  • H. Martin Garraffo
    • 1
  • Thomas F. Spande
    • 1
  • César Jaramillo
    • 2
  • A. Stanley Rand
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Bioorganic ChemistryNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstitutePanama CityPanama

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