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Brazilian Scientists Discover World’s First Venomous Frogs

Two Brazilian frog species use spiked lips to deliver toxins to predators.

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Scientists in Brazil have discovered what they say are the world’s first venomous frogs. When Brazilian biologist, Carlos Jared and his team of herpetologists discovered the frog in a jungle in Brazil’s Goytacazes National Forest, Jared picked the frog up for further examination and when he did so, the frog raked its upper lip across Jared’s hand and injected a venom that caused him severe pain for the next five hours. 

Venomous or Poisonous?


The Brazilian hylid frog (Corythomantis greening) has spines within its lips that release a potent venom that the researchers says is twice as potent as that of Brazilian pit vipers of the genus Bothrops. On its herping expedition, the team found another venomous frog, Aparasphenodon brunoi which has venom that their research shows as 25 times more deadly than a Brazilian pit viper.

According to the paper, the two frogs use head spines that rest in toxic glands in their skin as a delivery mechanism. When the frogs attack, the skin contracts and reveals the spines protruding from the lips of the frogs. 

The complete paper describing the new species and how they deliver the toxins is described in the journal Current Biology.

John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a kingsnake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata