Pteridines as Pigments in Amphibians

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Science  31 Jan 1964:
Vol. 143, Issue 3605, pp. 485-487
DOI: 10.1126/science.143.3605.485


Extracts of brightly colored skins from nine amphibian species were analyzed chromatographically. In yellow skin in which xanthophores predominated, relatively large quantities of sepiapterin were found, while in red skin which was laden with erythrophores, three drosopterins were most prevalent. Frozen sections of skin indicated that pteridines were present within chromatophores, either alone or accompanied by carotenoids. It is concluded that sepiapterin and three drosopterins are utilized as pigments in amphibians and it is suggested that other less brightly colored pteridines also function in this respect. It no longer seems proper to make the tacit assumption that bright pigmentation of amphibians is due only to the presence of carotenoids.