Frogs From the Skin In #446

November 03, 2017

Image from Sandra Goutte

Pictures of poison frogs are a popular form of home decor. Tiny size, bright colors, super deadly, they've got it all. But how exactly do poison frogs avoid poisoning themselves? This week we talk with Rebecca Tarvin and Cecilia Borghese, two scientists who studied how poison frogs survive their own toxins. And we speak with Sandra Goutte, a herpetologists who studies frog ears, how they work, and whether one tiny, adorable pumpkin toadlet can hear itself talk.

This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.


  • Rebecca Tarvin
  • Cecilia Borghese
  • Sandra Goutte

Guest Bios

Rebecca Tarvin

Rebecca Tarvin is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas in Austin studying the evolution of chemical defense and resistance to self-intoxication in poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). She has always been a frog biologist at heart, but more broadly she is interested in employing integrative approaches to understand how adaptive traits evolve. Outside of her research she is interested in the modern problem of sustainability; how can we convince human society to conserve and value nature?

Cecilia Borghese

Cecilia Borghese is a Research Associate at the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, at The University of Texas at Austin. Her studies have focused on the effects of different compounds (alcohol, general anesthetics, and, more recently, poison frogs' toxin) on ligand-gated ion channels, such as GABA-A, glycine and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. These receptors are fundamental components of the communication among neurons.

Sandra Goutte

Sandra Goutte is a herpetologist most recently at the University of Campinas in Brazil. She studies hearing in earless anurans such as frogs.

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