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USU Biologist Reports Amphibians with Snake-like, Venomous Dental Glands

07/10/2020

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USU biologist Edmund 'Butch' Brodie, Jr., right, with Pedro Luiz Mailho-Fontana of Brazil’s Butantan Institute

“We think of amphibians – frogs, toads and the like -- as basically harmless,” says Edmund "Butch" Brodie, emeritus professor in USU’s Department of Biology. “We know a number of amphibians store nasty, poisonous secretions in their skin to deter predators. But to learn at least one can inflict injury from its mouth is extraordinary.”

The discovery of oral glands in a family of caecilians, serpent-like creatures related to frogs and salamanders. Caecilians, which are neither snakes or worms, are found in tropical climates of Africa, Asian and the Americas. Some are aquatic and some, like the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), studied by Brodie’s team, live in burrows of their own making.

Read the entire story here.