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Poison-Frog Compounds Can Incapacitate Fire Ants

The red fire ants are known for damaging crops, damaging small animal populations and inflicting painful stings amongst livestock and human beings. Researchers from different parts of the United States partnered up to find out whether the naturally occurring compounds (the alkaloids) on the frog’s skin would kill fire ants, reports PCT Online.

Robert Vander Meer, a research leader, discovered the native Central and South American poison frog do not make alkaloids, but rather sequester them by eating ants, mites, millipedes and other arthropods that produce these compounds. When measuring the toxicity of the poison from 20 poison frogs, and the effectiveness in controlling fire ants, they found that some were very effective while others were not.

The scientists concluded that alkaloids that have derived from mites and found on the skin of Central America’s poison frog were the most effective at incapacitating fire ants.