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

The Frog Licker's ''Toxic'' Taste Test (Pictures)
<< Previous   3 of 4   Next >>
In Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park in 2003, biologist Valerie Clark photographed these frogs: (clockwise from top right) the painted mantella (Mantella madagascariensis), the Malagasy red-eyed tree frog (Boophis luteus), and a frog in the Aglyptodactylus genus.

In remote northern parts of the island, Clark also studies the Betsileo golden frog (Mantella betsileo) (top left), and other frogs to trace their skin alkaloidsa naturally occurring nitrogen compound and the cause of frog toxicitybackward through the food chain to their original sources.

Testing the theory means identifying the same toxin found in a frog and in its prey insects, and eventually in the plants and fungi on which those insects feed.

To this end, Clark has taken on a rather unusual habit: licking her subjects in the field to test their toxicity.

 More Photos in the News
 Today's Top 15 Most Popular Stories
 Free Email Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"
—Photographs by Valerie Clark
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.