Did you know a
poison arrow frog is about as big as your thumb? I bet you didn't know
orange poison arrow frog can yield up to 1900 micrograms
From how poison frogs communicate to the way they look and more,
welcome to the world of poison arrow frogs!
Poison arrow frogs, also commonly called poison dart frog,
communicate in different ways. Males
use soft vocalizations to attract females for mating and to establish
territories. Scientists also believe the frogs use
visual displays and chemical cues in order to
Poison dart frogs also use their skin color to
communicate to other animals.
Their brightly colored skin warns predators to stay away. In
the animal kingdom, bright colors tell predators that the animal may
be poisonous. A structural adaptation that is used to
communicate is called a badge. Badges are the color
and shape of the animal and are a form of visual communication. The
bright skin color of the poison dart frog is a badge. Animals
often communicate using structural adaptations like the brightly
colored skin of the poison dart frog which tells predators to keep
And in the case of poison dart frogs, the bright
colors mean serious business. Many varieties are extremely
poisonous and will kill animals, such as birds, if they are eaten.
Many species of poison dart frogs secrete poison through their skin,
and in some species even a lick can prove fatal! When dealing
with poison dart frogs remember you can look - but don't touch.
Poison dart frogs come in many colors. They
can be red, blue, green or yellow with black areas. They also
have flash colors. Flash colors are only shown when the frogs
jump. They can also have a variety of color patterns from spots to
stripes. There are 170 species of poison arrow frogs and most have a
bright splash of color.
There are more
than 100 different species of poison dart frogs. Only a few of
these species are actually poisonous to humans and animals.
dart frogs have small adhesive pads on their toes consisting of a groove that
runs right around the pad. The
lower part helps the frog cling to surfaces.
The upper part is divided down the middle into a pair of flaps.
Like most frogs, adults have a fused head and trunk with no tail.
Adult frogs breath through their skin and lungs, unlike tadpoles which
breath using gills. Tadpoles
lack legs and have tails which are needed for their watery habitat. The
strawberry poison dart frog is only an inch long and is usually orange with blue legs. However,
off the coast of Panama, our little "friends" can be white
with black spots, green, blue, black and brown.
The green and black poison arrow frogs have many color variants.
Most are black and either green or light blue with the black in
bands or spots. Their poison glands are located throughout their bodies. Hawaiian poison frogs are metallic green or brownish black.
The adults are only 4 cm. long.
Most species of
poison frogs live from Nicaragua to Peru, to southern Brazil. These
frogs live in only in South and Central America.
frogs usually live in humid, lowland forests.
One species is found in higher places in the Andes Mountains.
Another species is found in the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and
Tobago off the coast of Venezuela. Poison arrow frogs have also been introduced in Hawaii.
A frog needs moist skin, so a rainforest is an ideal habitat.
Frogs prefer locations near small streams or pools.
Green and black poison arrow frogs live on the floor of rainforests.
The blue poison frog is found in southern Suriname in a region
called Sipaliwini Savannah, at elevations up to 430 meters.
Surprising these forests are warm and humid. The
temperature is 22-27 degrees Celsius during the day and gets down to 20
degrees Celsius at night. Red and
blue poison frogs live along the forest floor in Costa Rica.
species, the tadpoles will eat unfertilized eggs which their mothers
leave for them. Juveniles
eat mainly mites, springtail and rotifers.
Fifty percent of the adult dart
frog's diet consists of ants. Forty percent of their diet is made up of forest mites and
the remaining amount consists of spiders, small flies, etc.
Because the dart frog is so small and so active, it has to eat
Eggs are laid on land.
A male will clean off a flat surface and defend it by wrestling
if necessary. Than the male
calls to attract a female. The
male will then stay near the eggs until they hatch. (1-2 weeks). When they hatch the "nurse frog" (again usually the
male) will take the tadpoles to a water source where they continue their
development. A couple of
tadpoles at a time will stick themselves to a mucus patch on the nurse
frog's back. The mucus
dissolves when the frog enters a water source, and then the tadpoles are on
their own. The adult frog may have to take several journeys to get all
of the tadpoles. Depending
on the species, the frogs may lay 2-30 eggs.
Total development of the tadpole can take 43-52 days.
Information on how long dart frogs
live is unclear. Their
life expectancy has been up to ten years in captivity.
Other Interesting Facts|
Frogs can hold
up to 35 items in their stomach at one time.
orange poison frog can yield up to 1900 micrograms of poison.
is believed that 0nly 2- 20 micrograms may be lethal to man.
do loose their toxicity in captivity possibly because of the loss of
wild food sources.
is a group of Choco Indians living in Columbia who dip the darts for
their blowguns into the poison from certain poison dart
frogs. One of the deadliest poisons comes from Phyllobates
terribilis. The Choco pin the frogs to the ground and wipe
their arrows and darts on the frog's skin. They use the blowgun
darts and arrows for hunting.
frogs are diurnal (active during the daytime) and are seldom still during the day.
They are very adaptable and do well in aquariums.
They are bold and
aggressive and very territorial, especially the males.
Aggressive behaviors include calling, chases and wrestling.
a video of poison dart frog taken at the Milwaukee County Zoo
of poison dart frog created by page author, Alonzo at the Milwaukee
County Zoo. 11 March 2006.
Brown, J. 2004.
Animal Diversity Web. February 28, 2006. <http://anumaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Dendrobates_azureus.html>.
Lori. "Blue Poison Arrow Frog." Nashville Zoo.
15 April 2006 <http://www.nashvillezoo.org/blfrog.htm>.
Poison Arrow Frog" Encyclopedia
of Animals. EBSCO
Publishing 2006. February
28, 2006. Searchasaurus.
Arrow Frogs." Encyclopedia of Animals.
EBSCO Publishing 2006. February 28, 2006. Searchasaurus.
Dart Frogs, Mantellas, etc." Poison
Frogs. February 28, 2006. < http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/species/poison.html
Blue Poison Dart Frogs." Encyclopedia
of Animals. EBSCO
Publishing 2006. February
28, . 2006. Searchasaurus.
1999. "Dendrobates auratus". Animal Diversity Web. February
28, 2006. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Dendrobates_auratus.html>.
"Jump for Joy: Blue Frog Babies."
Science News. 4/16/88:
Vol. 133 Issue 16, p247. EBSCO Publishing 2006.
February 28, 2006. Searchasaurus.
Copyrighted images of
frog in pond from "Animation Factory" <http://www.animationfactory.com/>
March, 2006. Animations are not in the public domain and are available
only to members.
Permission to use photographs
of frogs on wall is granted under the terms of the GNU
Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.
art images of poison arrow frogs from "Icon
February, 2006. Copyrighted images available for personal use.
of trees in the rainforest from "Microsoft
Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1>
February, 2006. Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial