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Preparing dart frog toxin, Amazon, 1820s

Preparing dart frog toxin, Amazon, 1820s

C028/9468

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Preparing dart frog toxin, Amazon, 1820s. Coloured lithograph of the extinct tribe of the Puris from the North Coast of South America, preparing dart frog toxin. Artwork from Maximilian Prinz zu Wied's 'Journey to Brazil from 1815-17' (Frankfurt, 1820). Like the Embera Choco from Western Colombia, the Puri prepared weapons with a poison dart frog being held over a fire to collect its stress-secreted toxin. Phyllobates aurotaenia or Phyllobates bicolor might give enough poison for 20 or 30 darts or arrows. The poisons are steroidal alkaloids. The poison from one frog (according to one study) is enough to kill 20,000 mice.

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