Poison Dart Frogs

Common Name: poison dart frogs, poison arrow frogs

Type: Amphibian

Family: Dendrobatidae

Range: The Poison Dart Frogs are found mainly in rainforests Throughout the Central and South U.S., Mexico, and Costa Rica and on a few Hawaiian islands.

The Poison dart frogs are 1 in (2.5 centimeters) long. Several may reach to a length approximately up to 5 cm. However, they have a powerful punch.

Weight: It is weighing less than 28 grams (an ounce)

Diet: They are Carnivore; normally they feed on ants, termites, crickets, small flies, and small insects which they can find on the jungle floor applying their outstanding vision. They can confine their prey with their very long sticky tongues.

Average life span: They have an Average life span in the wild from 3 to 15 years and may live more than 10 years in captivity.

Habitat: Depending on the species, some live close to water while others prefer mountainous forest ranges.

Breeding/Reproduction: Male frogs experience a complicated ritual to catch the attention of a mate. The males sing, a loud vibration sound, to attract the females. Once the courtship practice is complete, the females deposit eggs on leaves. The eggs are covered in a gelatinous substance for shield against decompose.

Poison Dart Frogs are the diurnal species of the Dendrobatidae family of frogs. These bright-colored creatures are commonly found in tropical forest of Costa Rica to Central and South America. They love the humidity and moistness of these places. Rivers, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, lakes and swamps are some of their habitats. They are called “poison dart” because of the common use of their secreted toxins applied in blow darts by the Amerindians. The level of toxicity of Poison Dart Frogs may vary from one specie and population to another. Their specie includes some of the most poisonous creatures on this planet. The Golden Poison Dart Frog is capable of killing around 10 adult humans.

There are roughly 150 species of amphibians living in Costa Rica. Some of these species include some of the most brightly colored frogs found in the rainforest and the National Parks.

This charming group of frogs belongs to the family Dendronbatidae. In Costa Rica there are 7 species, 3 of which boldly display the bright and contrasting colors that are a family trademark.

The toxins of Costa Rica’s poison dart frogs are not practically as venomous as their Colombian cousin, but nonetheless they serve to defend the frogs from predators. An animal that feeds on any member of the Dendrobatidae is likely to suffer from violent sickness or death. The lucky survivors quickly learn to avoid anything with the color pattern that caused such extreme illness. Thus the bright reds, blues, greens, and blacks of the frogs actually serve as a warning.

Majority of Poison Dart Frogs are usually little. Adults can be just as small as 1.5cm (0.59 in) but some can reach 6cm (2.4 in). Their average weight is 2 grams.

These amphibians come in different colors such as yellow, gold, copper, red, green, blue or black depending on their habitats. Their colorings are intentionally conspicuous to avoid predators which is a technique called aposematic coloration. Also, their hue is affiliated according to their toxicity and alkaloid level. The source of their poisons are said to be carried by what they eat. Poison Dart Frogs that are not in the wild don’t obtain poison. Alkaloids in the skin glands of poison frogs function as a chemical defense against predation. With that, they are able to be active with potential threats during the day.

Some of this species lay their eggs on the forest floor, hidden below the leaves. They fertilize their eggs externally, wherein the females lay them and after which, males fertilize those eggs. Known as devoted parents, Poison Dart Frogs carry their eggs and tadpoles on their backs. This is not unique between amphibians but male Poison Dart Frogs serve as the transportation of their young. The tadpoles feed on invertebrates.

Scientists have been researching possible medicinal uses for some poison dart frog venom. They have already developed a synthetic version of one compound that has some potential as a painkiller.

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