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Do sympatric poison frogs (Anura: Dendrobatidae) have similar chemical defenses?

Grant number: 21/14522-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): March 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal researcher:Taran Grant
Grantee:Julia Albuquerque de Pinna
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/15425-0 - A multi-disciplinary approach to the study of amphibian diversification: phase 2, AP.JP2
Associated scholarship(s):22/07325-1 - Quantification of sequestered alkaloids in Dendrobatidae species, BE.EP.IC

Abstract

Chemical defense in poison frogs derives from lipophilic alkaloids sequestered from arthropods ingested in their diet. Despite the scientific and popular renown of these frogs, their chemical defense system remains poorly understood, especially concerning the causal basis of interspecific variation in alkaloid diversity, which is necessary to understand the evolution of sequestration within Dendrobatidae. Several variables have been proposed to explain variation in alkaloid diversity, including geographic distribution (and concomitant local arthropod/alkaloid availability) and the genetic sequestration mechanism. One approach to begin teasing apart these explanations is to study the alkaloid diversity of sympatric species. Previous studies of sympatric dendrobatid poison frogs were limited to Central American species representing only three genera. In this study, we aim to test the generality of previous findings by studying three South American genera. Specifically, we aim to compare the alkaloid diversity of sympatric individuals of Ameerega hahneli, Ameerega macero, Ameerega trivittata, Ranitomeya amazonica and Ranitomeya cyanovittata collected in three different states of Brazil (Acre, Amazonas and Pará). Our results will expand knowledge of chemical defense in sympatric poison frogs and contribute to a broader understanding of the evolution of alkaloid sequestration.(AU)

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