Individual and geographic variation of skin alkaloids in three species of Madagascan poison frogs (Mantella)
Alkaloid profiles for 81 individual mantellid frogs, Mantella baroni (Boulenger 1988) (N=19), M. bernhardi (N=51), and M. madagascariensis (Grandidier 1877) (N=11), from six different populations from Madagascar were examined. Marked individual differences in alkaloid composition (number, type, and amount) were observed between different species and between populations of the same species. Disjunct populations of each of the three species differed significantly in alkaloid composition. Sympatric populations of M. baroni and M. madagascariensis also differed significantly in alkaloid composition. In M. bernhardi, differences in alkaloid composition were marginally associated with different sexes. A total of 111 alkaloids, including isomers, were detected in analysis of the individuals from the three species. The majority (47%) appear likely to be obtained from dietary mites, whereas many of the others (18%) are presumed to be from ants, and a few (4%) are from millipedes. Putative dietary sources for the remaining alkaloids are generally unknown, but beetles are probably the source of at least some of the tricyclic alkaloids (6%). In addition, alkaloid compositions from extracts of groups of individuals from five additional populations of M. baroni and from one population of M. bernhardi (Vences et al. 1994) and one population of M. cowanii (Boulenger 1882) were examined. An additional 50 alkaloids, including isomers, were detected in the combined samples, bringing the total number of alkaloids identified from these four species of mantellid frogs to 161. Alkaloid compositions in mantellid poison frogs are diverse and highly dependent on geographic location that appear to be largely determined by the nature and availability of alkaloid-containing prey items. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.