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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Toxic Greens Protect Smurf-Tongued Lizards
10 February 2012 3:35 pm
Eating your greens is good for you, but if you're a bluetongue lizard, it might just save your life. New research finds that the toxic mother-of-millions plant (Bryophyllum spp.) protects some bluetongues (Tiliqua scincoides) from cane toad (Rhinella marina) toxins. Both the plant and the toad were introduced to different parts of Australia around 1935, both produce a similar toxin (bufadienolide) that can stop the heart, and both are consumed by bluetongues. When injected with non-lethal doses of bufadienolide, bluetongues from areas without mother-of-millions (inset) swam 50% slower than before they were injected, while those that live in areas with the plant only swam 20% slower, researchers report in a forthcoming issue of American Naturalist. That suggests that bluetongue lineages from mother-of-millions areas have built up a resistance to bufadienolide over time. The team hopes bufadienolide resistance will lessen the impact of another potential invader with similar toxins, the black-spined toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), on this native lizard.
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