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Archive for June 26th, 2007

Rare species of frog, snake in Orissa

Posted by Miqe on June 26, 2007

Kendrapada (Orissa), June 26: Two highly endangered species, the crab-eating frog and the white belly mangrove snake, have been spotted in Orissa.

The rare species were seen at the river mouth of Dhamra, five kilometres from the Bhitarkanika national park in Kendrapada district, some 170 km from Bhubaneswar, Sushil Kumar Dutta, a herpetologist, told IANS.

Dutta, a zoology professor with the North Orissa University at Baripada, and his team found the frog and the snake during a recent study.

“We stumbled upon this frog and snake while studying the area to prepare an environmental impact assessment report for Greenpeace,” Dutta said.

“They were properly documented and photographed before they were released again in the swampy areas of the river mouth. A team of researchers will again visit the area to search for more rare frogs and snakes,” he said.

The crab-eating frog, scientifically known as ‘fejervarya cancrivora’, is native to Southeast Asia. It inhabits mangrove swamps and is the only known modern amphibian that can tolerate salt water.

The white belly mangrove snake is scientifically known as ‘fordonia leucobalia’. It stays in mangrove swamps and tropical tidal wetlands from Southeast Asia to the coasts of Northern Australia.

The snake hangs out in crab-made holes, after eating its occupants. It is an estuarine species and has all the adaptations necessary for survival in a fully marine life.

From NewKerala

Posted in Amphibians, Herps in the news, International articles and news., Reptiles, Snakes | 2 Comments »

Gila Monster Spit Could Be a Weight-Loss Hit

Posted by Miqe on June 26, 2007

Overweight people with diabetes may not find the Gila monster quite so monstrous anymore, thanks to a new weight-loss drug that mimics a compound in the creature’s spit.The drug — a synthetic form of a hormone called exendin-4 found in the lizard’s saliva — helped people with type 2 diabetes shed pounds, a three-year study found.

The Gila monster is a venomous lizard that lives in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

This study of 217 patients found that three years of treatment with the drug exenatide (brand name Byetta) resulted in sustained, progressive weight loss averaging 11 pounds. Many of the patients also showed sustained reductions in blood sugar levels and in blood biomarkers that indicate liver injury.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association, in Chicago.

“Overweight and weight gain is an almost universal problem for people with diabetes,” lead researcher Dr. John Buse, chief of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. Buse is also the ADA’s president-elect for medicine and science and will become president in September.

The study was funded by two drug companies — Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company — collaborating on the development and commercialization of exenatide. Many of the researchers involved with this study work for Amylin or Eli Lilly.

Exenatide was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2005 for treatment of type 2 diabetes patients who are unable to get their blood sugar under control with one or both of two other drugs, metformin and sulfonylurea.

From Forbes

Posted in Herps in the news, International articles and news., Lizards, Reptiles, Science/Scientific papers | 1 Comment »