Home News How poison dart frogs send defense toxins to their skin

How poison dart frogs send defense toxins to their skin


amphibian: A group of animals that includes frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Amphibians have backbones and can breathe through their skin. Unlike reptiles, birds, and mammals, amphibians do not develop in a special protective sac called an amniotic sac.

biologist: A scientist involved in the study of living things.

cells: (in biology) the smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. Usually too small to see with the unaided eye, it consists of a watery fluid surrounded by a membrane or wall. Depending on their size, organisms are made up of thousands to trillions of cells.

chemical: A substance composed of two or more atoms that combine (bond) in a specific ratio and structure. For example, water is a chemical formed when two hydrogen atoms bond with one oxygen atom. Its chemical formula is H2O.

chemical reaction: A process that involves a rearrangement of the molecules or structure of matter, as opposed to a change in physical form (from solid to gas).

food: (n.) food and fluid ingested by an animal to provide the nutrients it needs to grow and maintain health. Sometimes it’s a specific diet plan.

the family: A classification consisting of at least one genus of organisms.

Fluorescent: (v. fluoresce) adjective for something capable of absorbing and reemitting light. That remitted light is known as fluorescence.

Gene: (adjective genetic) A segment of DNA that contains the code or instructions for the cell’s protein production. Children inherit genes from their parents. Genes affect how an organism looks and behaves.

the courage: An informal term for the gastrointestinal tract, especially the intestines.

Herpetologist: A scientist who works on the biology of reptiles and amphibians.

insect: A type of arthropod that as an adult has six segmented legs and three body parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. There are thousands of insects, including bees, beetles, flies and moths.

the liver: A body organ in animals with a backbone that performs several important functions. It can store fat and sugar as energy, break down harmful substances for excretion by the body, and secrete bile, a greenish liquid secreted into the intestines, where it helps digest fats and neutralize acids.

mammal: A warm-blooded animal distinguished by hair or fur, secretion of milk by females to feed their young, and (usually) birth of live young.

marker: (in biomedicine) the presence of some substance — such as the attachment of some stain or molecular flag — that usually signals some disease, pollutant, or event. As such, this substance will act as a sign – or marker – of that related thing.

Metabolism: (adj. metabolic) the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions that take place inside large structures such as cells and organs. These responses enable organisms to grow, reproduce, move, and otherwise respond to their environment.

Poison dart frog: A genus of brightly colored frogs (there are over 100 different species) that belong to the Dendrobatidae family. They secrete a powerful venom in their skin. Their bright colors warn predators that they will provide a poisonous lunch. The skin of at least one species can contain enough venom to kill up to 20,000 mice – or 10 adult males. They get their name from the fact that some hunters in the Amazon once used these poisons on the tips of their darts to immobilize their prey.

hunter: (adjective: predator) An animal that hunts other animals for most or all of its food.

primary: An adjective meaning chief, first or most important.

protein: A compound made from one or more long chains of amino acids. Protein is an essential part of all living organisms. They form the basis of living cells, muscles and tissues; They also work inside cells. Antibodies, hemoglobin and enzymes are all examples of proteins. Drugs often work by binding to proteins.

the species: A group of similar organisms capable of producing offspring that can survive and reproduce.

poisonous: Toxic or capable of damaging or killing cells, tissues or whole organisms. A measure of the risk posed by such a poison is its toxicity.

poison: A poison produced by living organisms, such as bacteria, algae, and some plants (such as poison ivy). Bees, spiders, snakes and other animals also produce toxins. These are called poisons.

characteristics: characteristic of something. (in genetics) a quality or characteristic that can be inherited.


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