For Biology students in the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Toxicity by Acquisition
Here's a pretty cool article I found in the New York Times about the African crested rat, which is the first known placental mammal to utilize toxicity by acquisition. The rat chews on a poisonous tree bark and spreads the poisonous spit onto its coat. The fur then soaks in the poison and kills any predators that they lure into taking a bite. Researchers are unsure of the series of evolutionary events which lead to the rats' dependance on the tree bark, as their morphological structure and other defense tactics alone would not be sufficient to allow the species to survive.