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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

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Cobal

Northern Washington Newt

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Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa)

Here's a fun fact - the rough-skinned newt produces one of the most deadly toxins known on earth. Common gartersnakes eat these newts, storing the toxin in their liver. This renders the snakes poisonous if eaten by a predator. However, the toxin is not concentrated enough to kill a human.

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Wasn't there some work done on these, that found a strong correlation between the snake's tolerance and the newt's toxicity?

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6 hours ago, psweet said:

Wasn't there some work done on these, that found a strong correlation between the snake's tolerance and the newt's toxicity?

 

 Not sure about the study that you referred to, but garters are tolerant of some reasonably potent anuran toxins as well.

 To add to Mike's fun fact: there's a pufferfish delicacy fugu that is served in Japan and requires a specially-trained chef to prepare it and remove the gland. If the gland is not properly removed it's the last supper for the diner. Tarichatoxin (newt toxin) is fundamentally the same compound as tetrodotoxin, which is the toxin in pufferfish. Like Mike said, it is one of the most deadly toxins on Earth. Its mechanism of action is to lock down sodium channels, ultimately shutting down the nervous system. Red-spotted newts produce it too, and it's the reason why we see them walking around boldly on the damp forest floor here in the Northeast when most other amphibians are hiding from whatever would eat them.

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Thanks, Mike. I had read about that back when it came out, and it was bugging me that I couldn't remember more.

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