Curare is a collective word for a number of plant-based poisons that have been discovered as being used by tribes in South and Central America. Curare is really an alkaline toxin, which means that its pH is basic, or more than 7. As numerous poisonous plants have developed to save plants from assault by plant-eating animals, curare may be generated from various kinds of plants. South American tribal hunters exploited this by soaking their arrows in curare. The toxin induces muscular paralysis, which may lead to death if the diaphragm is also affected.
Related Biology Terms
Poison: Any material that disrupts an organism’s normal functioning, frequently generated by prey to evade predators.
Venom is a poisonous chemical produced by predators and injected into victims by predators.
A hunter tips a dart with the secretions of a dart frog. The substance is acidic and extremely poisonous. Is this a curare?
A curare is derived from the chemicals present in plant leaves that have been condensed or otherwise extracted from the plant. Interestingly, these toxins are often derived from lower in the food chain. In the case of the frogs, the toxin is often received from the insects that it eats, which get it from the plants they eat. Although these toxins may have the same source, only the one made from plants is called a curare.