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      The cost of chemical defence: the impact of toxin depletion on growth and behaviour of cane toads ( Rhinella marina )

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          The natural history of amphibian skin secretions, their normal functioning and potential medical applications.

          Amphibians occupy a wide range of habitat types from arid deserts to deep freshwater lakes; they may spend most of their life underground or high in cloud forest canopy. Some are found north of the Arctic Circle and can tolerate freezing conditions, while others have evolved a range of adaptations to avoid desiccation in some of the hotter areas of the world. The skin plays key roles in the everyday survival of amphibians and their ability to exploit a wide range of habitats and ecological conditions. The normal functions of the skin are surveyed and Eisner's biorational approach to chemical prospecting--seeking clues from an animal's behaviour and its interactions with its environment to reveal the presence of chemical compounds with potential medical or veterinary applications--is applied to amphibians. The biology and natural history of amphibian skin, its glands and their secretions are briefly reviewed. Four categories of compounds are found in the granular or poison glands, these are: biogenic amines, bufodienolides (bufogenins), alkaloids and steroids, peptides and proteins. Toads, particularly members of the genus Bufo, are identified as a particularly convenient and useful source of granular gland secretions. The potential medical-pharmaceutical significance of products derived from amphibian skin secretions is discussed. The need for a humane approach to this work is noted.
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            The venom optimization hypothesis revisited.

            Animal venoms are complex chemical mixtures that typically contain hundreds of proteins and non-proteinaceous compounds, resulting in a potent weapon for prey immobilization and predator deterrence. However, because venoms are protein-rich, they come with a high metabolic price tag. The metabolic cost of venom is sufficiently high to result in secondary loss of venom whenever its use becomes non-essential to survival of the animal. The high metabolic cost of venom leads to the prediction that venomous animals may have evolved strategies for minimizing venom expenditure. Indeed, various behaviors have been identified that appear consistent with frugality of venom use. This has led to formulation of the "venom optimization hypothesis" (Wigger et al. (2002) Toxicon 40, 749-752), also known as "venom metering", which postulates that venom is metabolically expensive and therefore used frugally through behavioral control. Here, we review the available data concerning economy of venom use by animals with either ancient or more recently evolved venom systems. We conclude that the convergent nature of the evidence in multiple taxa strongly suggests the existence of evolutionary pressures favoring frugal use of venom. However, there remains an unresolved dichotomy between this economy of venom use and the lavish biochemical complexity of venom, which includes a high degree of functional redundancy. We discuss the evidence for biochemical optimization of venom as a means of resolving this conundrum. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Nutritional and sensory quality of edible insects

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Proc. R. Soc. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8452
                1471-2954
                May 15 2019
                May 15 2019
                : 286
                : 1902
                : 20190867
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789, USA
                [2 ]School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney New South Wales 2006, Australia
                Article
                10.1098/rspb.2019.0867
                © 2019

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