Toxicity of dangerous prey: Variation of tetrodotoxin levels within and among populations of the newt Taricha granulosa

Charles T. Hanifin, Mari Yotsu-Yamashita, Takeshi Yasumoto, Edmund D. Brodie, Edmund D. Brodie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    90 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The ability to identify and accurately measure traits at the phenotypic interface of potential coevolutionary interactions is critical in documenting reciprocal evolutionary change between species. We quantify the defensive chemical trait of a prey species, the newt Taricha granulosa, thought to be part of a coevolationary arms race. Variation in newt toxicity among populations results from variation in levels of the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX). Individual variation in TTX levels occurs within populations. Although TTX exists as a family of stereoisomers, only two of these (TTX and 6-epi- TTX) are likely to be sufficiently toxic and abundant to play a role in the defensive ecology of the newt.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2161-2175
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
    Volume25
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

    Keywords

    • Arms race
    • Caudata
    • Coevolution
    • Predator-prey
    • Taricha granulosa
    • Tetrodotoxin

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Biochemistry

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