Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Investigations on the toxin of Taricha granulosa Public Deposited

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  • There are essentially no publications dealing with the skin toxin of Taricha granulosa. This study has undertaken investigations with this toxin in an attempt to determine its potency and its effect on the newt's potential predators. Test solutions were made by macerating a known volume of newt skin in a known volume of saline solution. A known volume of this mixture was injected into a test animal to check the animal's susceptibility to the toxin. The skin solution was found to be toxic when used in oral, subcutaneous, and intraperitoneal injections. Tests were also made by feeding, both voluntary and by force, portions or entire newts to potential predators. It was found that one mouse unit (dose, injected intraperitoneally needed to kill a 21 gr. white mouse in ten minutes) equaled 0.0002 cc. of back skin from an adult terrestrial Taricha granulosa. Forty-two vertebrate taxa (3 fish, 6 amphibians, 14 reptiles, 5 birds, and 14 mammals) were tested either with injections or by feeding; all except Thamnophis sp. were conclusively proven to be susceptible to the newt skin toxin. Thamnophis sp. were killed by very large injections but survived after eating adult newts. A toxin was also found to be present in ovarian eggs, oviducal eggs, and the blood of adult males (females were not tested). Very little or no toxin is present in larvae. Terrestrial newts appear to be more toxic than aquatic newts and back skin appears to be more toxic than ventral skin.
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