Poison dart frog

From Academic Kids

Poison dart frog
Missing image
Juvenile Cobalt Tinc

Juvenile Cobalt Tinc, Dendrobates tinctorius
This frog is 3–6 months old.
Scientific classification

Many, about 150+ species within 8 genera

Poison Dart Frog is the common name given to the group of Dendrobatid frogs belonging to the family of Dendrobatidae. This group of frogs has many common names including: poison arrow frogs, poison frogs, or simply dart frogs.


These frogs received their common name from the toxic skin a few species posses, such as the most poisonous dart frog Phyllobates terribilis, also known as the golden poison frog. Certain tribes in South America dip their hunting arrows in the toxins found on the skin of these frogs (the poison is collected via roasting the frogs and the toxin dripping into a cup). When shooting a poison-tipped arrow at a wild animal, the animal will die within minutes from the neurotoxin, making additional shots unnecessary to kill the animal.

Poison dart frogs are traditionally characterized by their brightly colored skin and small size. The skin color can range from bright orange and black to true blue, to yellow, blue, and black spots.

Poison dart frogs are only found in three geographical regions: Central America, South America, and on a few of the Hawaiian islands. In Hawaii, the only species found in the wild is the green and black poison dart frog, also known by its genus species: Dendrobates auratus. It is believed that the species was actually introduced to the islands during the 19th or 20th centuries by man.

There are well over 100 different species of poison dart frog found in the wild, only a handful of which are actually toxic to animals and humans. It is believed the few species that are toxic become so through their diet, which consists in part of carpenter ants. These ants are believed to eat an unknown wild plant which has toxic properties, which are passed from the plant to the ant to the poison dart frog, then digested and secreted on the outside of the amphibian's skin. Because their diet is not the same as in the wild, in captivity all species of poison dart frog are completely harmless. Frogs brought from the wild into captivity and fed a regular captive diet (usually fruit flies or pin-head crickets) eventually lose their toxicity.

Poison dart frogs range in size from 1/2" to 2 1/2" long when fully grown. Size depends not only on age of the frog, but also the species. Dendrabates tinctorius is one of the larger species, reaching 2 1/2" in size. Smaller species, like Dendrobates imitator do not reach much more than an inch.

Posion dart frogs have a typical lifespan of from 5 to 12+ years. Most species reach maturity around 1.5 to 2.5 years of age. The easiest way to determine the sex of a particular species of posion dart frog is by observation in the wild. Mature male frogs will usually make a mating call after eating or after a heavy misting of water. The sound is similar to that of a series of high-pitched "clicks". In juvenile frogs the sex can sometimes be determined by the profile of the amphibian. The backs of males usually slope down with less of a break than females. Females are usually rounder and show a bigger break.

In captivity, most species thrive where humidity is kept around 80-100% constantly and temperature hovers around 80-82 F degrees during the day and no lower than 60-65 F degrees at night.

Poison dart frogs are sometimes confused with Mantellas, a small colorful frog only found on the island of Madagascar. These two families of frogs are not related and Mantellas typically prefer cooler temperatures, are non-poisonous and usually smaller in size than the medium to large species of poison dart frogs.de:Baumsteigerfrösche nl:Pijlgifkikkers


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