Researchers from Utah State University in Logan and the Butantan Institute in São Paulo have found evidence of oral venom glands in amphibians, according to a report posted July 3 on Phys.org.
Biologist Edmund Brodie Jr., PhD, and colleague Pedro Luiz Mailho-Fontana, PhD, discovered venomous oral glands in a family of amphibians called caecilians, which are related to frogs and salamanders. The creatures live in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; some are aquatic and others create burrows in the ground, Phys.org reported. They have glands that produce toxins at their tails, but some also have glands in their jaws.
Mailho-Fontana found that the glands, called dental glands, developed from different tissue than poison glands found in the skin of caecilians.
"The poisonous skin glands form from the epidermis, but these oral glands develop from the dental tissue, and this is the same developmental origin we find in the venom glands of reptiles," he said in the Phys.org report.