Loss of skin alkaloids in poison toads,Melanophryniscus klappenbachi(Anura: Bufonidae) when fed alkaloid-free diet

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Abstract

Toads of the genus Melanophryniscus contain toxic alkaloids sequestered from a diet of mainly ants and mites. Wild-caught specimens of M. klappenbachi were fed an alkaloid-free diet and their alkaloid profile was analyzed during 38 months in captivity. Individual alkaloid patterns varied considerably. Over time, the concentration of two alkaloids, pumiliotoxin 251D and 3,5-disubstituted indolizidine 195B, significantly declined, suggesting that the toads depend on continuous access to alkaloid-containing prey to maintain natural levels of their chemical defense.

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