You mess with the frog, you get the very deadly spikes, at least that’s what should be known after a venomous frog that is 25 times deadlier than a pit viper has been discovered. Two Brazilian researchers have found that out the hard way, leading them to deem the previously unassuming amphibians as being quite perilous.
Carlos Jared of the Instituto Butantan in São Paulo was handling a species of frog called Corythomantis greeningi (the Brazilian hylid frog), picking them up for gathering purposes while one of them rubbed the sharp spikes across his hand, causing a cut. The researcher instantly dropped it due to feeling an “intense ache radiating up his arm” that lasted up to 5 hours, according to his co-author Edmund Brodie Jr., a herpetologist at Utah State College.
It would be what is known as a “happy accident”, albeit a painful one, as it has unexpectedly led to both of them discovering two new species of frogs that are indeed venomous. The “happy” part is also related to the fact that one of the researches got injured by the less deadlier one.
Corythomantis greeningi and, the more venomous discovery, Aparasphenodon brunoi, have been the firsts to be added on the list of deadly frogs by injecting their venom, instead of poisoning through touch. There are a number of amphibians, be it frogs, newts or salamanders, whose skin is littered with poison-laced pores, but this is an unusual case.
There is a vast difference between ‘venomous’ and ‘poisonous’ that should be noted when categorizing a variety of creatures. While ‘poisonous’ means an entity that secrets deadly or harmful toxins, ‘venomous’ counts as those who can actively inject it through bites or scratches.
Both the Corythomantis greeningi and the Aparasphenodon brunoi can deliver their venom through two bony spikes etched into their skull. The researchers observed, however, that it’s commonly used as a defense mechanism and not a method of hunting down prey. There have been questions along the years as to why these two specific species of frogs don’t have any known predators. Now, the questions are answered.
With one quick head-butt, both will deliver the venom into its victim. Corythomantis greeningi is the less deadliest of the two, though that does not leave it to be underestimated. With just one gram of its venom, it can kill 24,000 mice and 6 people, giving it the horrific honor of being twice more effective than that of a pit viper.
On the other hand, A. brunoi has the serpent beat by a landslide. One gram of the frog’s venom can kill more than 300,000 and 80 people, which is up to twenty five times greater than a pit viper.
Researchers are now looking into other species of frogs that they suspect might be venomous instead of just poisonous, in order for better study. And, needlessly said, they will be wearing very heavy rubber gloves from now on.
Image source: flickr.com