Poison Source: Toxic birds may get chemical from beetle | Science News

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Poison Source: Toxic birds may get chemical from beetle

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9:30am, November 3, 2004

After more than a decade of searching, researchers have found a promising explanation for the defensive chemicals that have been identified in poisonous birds of New Guinea. When the birds eat certain tiny beetles, they may be stocking up on the toxic substance, the scientists suggest.

Birds in the genera Pitohui and Ifrita carry batrachotoxins, the same compounds found in some of the poison frogs of the Americas. Neither the birds nor the frogs are likely to make the toxins themselves, says John P. Dumbacher of the California Academy of Sciences in San

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