Poison Dart Frog

There are many species of poison dart frogs found throughout Central and South America. These frogs eat small insects, including ants that produce toxic chemicals called alkaloids. The frogs don’t digest these alkaloids, instead secreting them out of their skin. This is what gives the frogs their namesake toxicity. The name “dart frog” refers to the usage of the frogs’ toxins by locals to poison the tips of darts for use in hunting. Because the frogs get their toxicity from their natural diet, captive bred frogs are often not toxic. Poison dart frogs all have bright coloration as a warning to potential predators of their toxicity. This is called aposematic coloration.

Dendrobates tinctorius ‘azureus’

Distribution: Lowland forests of French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Brazil.

Diet in the Wild: Small insects

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Fruit flies and small crickets

IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population stable

Interesting Facts:

Unlike most frogs, the female blue poison dart frog lays its eggs out of the water. The male frog will then carry newly hatched tadpoles to small pools of water that have collected in leaves and tree crevices, where they will continue to develop.

Dendrobates auratus

Distribution: Forests and Wetlands of Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia.

Diet in the Wild: Small insects

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Fruit flies and small crickets

IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population trend unknown

Interesting Facts:

The name “green and black poison dart frog” is a little misleading. Individuals of this species can have pigments which result in blue-green, blue, and even yellow coloration instead of green.

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