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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 937407, 9 pages
Research Article

Differences and Similarities among Parotoid Macrogland Secretions in South American Toads: A Preliminary Biochemical Delineation

1Laboratório de Bioquímica e Biofísica, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas da Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 2415, 05508-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Laboratório de Biologia Celular, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 19 March 2013; Accepted 11 April 2013

Academic Editors: F. Garcia-Gonzalez and A. I. Kehr

Copyright © 2013 Juliana Mozer Sciani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Amphibians are known by cutaneous glands, spread over the skin, containing toxins (proteins, peptides, biogenic amines, steroidal bufadienolides, and alkaloids) used as chemical defense against predators and microbial infection. Toads are characterized by the presence of parotoid macroglands. The common toads have lately been divided into two genera: Bufo (Europe, Asia, and Africa) and Rhinella (South America). Basal Rhaebo genus is exclusively of Central America and Amazon region. Although Rhinella and Rhaebo are related, species may share differences due to the diversity of environments that they live in. In this work, we have performed a biochemical characterization of the components of the poison of eight Rhinella species and one Rhaebo by means of RP-HPLC with either UV or MS detection and by SDS-PAGE, in order to verify whether phylogenetic and biological differences, such as habitat, diet, and defensive strategies, between them may also be reflected in poison composition. Although some components were common among the secretions, we were able to identify exclusive molecules to some species. The fact that closely related animals living in different habitats secrete different molecules into the skin is an indication that biological features, and not only evolution, seem to directly influence the skin secretion composition.