February 23, 2006

Australian Frog Smells Repel Mosquitoes

CANBERRA -- Australian researchers have discovered a natural mosquito repellent in the smelly secretions of green tree frogs.

Researchers at James Cook University in the tropical northern Queensland state and at the University of Adelaide found that chemicals released through the skin of the frogs produces a pungent smell that wards off mosquitoes.

"The smell is just not very good. Some smell of rotting flesh, some of nuts, some of thyme leaves," researcher Craig Williams told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday.

The research, published in the online journal Biology Letters, said green tree frogs were the first known back-boned animals to have a natural trick to protect them from mosquitoes.

The frog secretions were tested on mice, and were found to give up to one-hour's protection from aggressive mosquitoes.

But Williams said he did not expect the findings would lead to a new frog-based mosquito repellent for humans.

"In the concentrations you would need, it would not smell good enough," he said.