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Science. 1992 Oct 30;258(5083):799-801.

Homobatrachotoxin in the genus Pitohui: chemical defense in birds?

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, IL 60637.

Abstract

Three passerine species in the genus Pitohui, endemic to the New Guinea subregion, contain the steroidal alkaloid homobatrachotoxin, apparently as a chemical defense. Toxin concentrations varied among species but were always highest in the skin and feathers. Homobatrachotoxin is a member of a class of compounds collectively called batrachotoxins that were previously considered to be restricted to neotropical poison-dart frogs of the genus Phyllobates. The occurrence of homobatrachotoxin in pitohuis suggests that birds and frogs independently evolved this class of alkaloids.

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PMID:
1439786
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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