Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Convergent Evolution in Poison Frogs

Convergent Evolution in Poison Frogs
(Live Science)
Poison frogs can’t make their own poison—they steal it from ants. Poison frogs secrete a variety of chemicals called alkaloids to create a poisonous defense against predators. Since they can’t produce alkaloids on their own, these frogs maintain a steady diet of specific alkaloid-rich ants to keep up their defense.

Now, Valerie Clark of Cornell University and her colleagues have detailed two instances of convergent evolution—the process in which organisms not closely related independently acquire similar characteristics while evolving in separate ecosystems—between frogs and ants on two continents.

Strangely enough, one of the frogs studied was a chain-smoker. Egad!

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