The Frog Licker's ''Toxic'' Taste Test

The Frog Licker's ''Toxic'' Taste Test (Pictures)
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Biologist Valerie Clark holds a nocturnal Hypsiboas sibleszi frog while doing research in Wokomung Massif, a mesa in southern Guyana, in July 2007.

Clark has explored the unique ecosystems atop Guyana's dramatic sandstone mesas, called tepuis.

She has teamed with Florida State University biologist Bruce Means to seek out unknown species displaying hallmarks of toxicity: bright colors, unpleasant odors, and telltale secretions.

But identifying new species and their toxins means euthanizing frogs from her study areas in South America and Madagascaran experience Clark dislikes.

"I don't think that I could kill a Boophis luteus [a Malagasy red-eyed tree frog]just too damn cute!" Clark said.

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—Photograph by D. Bruce Means
 
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