Poison dart frogs (Dendrobatidae) - Can you touch a poison dart frog?

Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Amphibia
Order - Anura
Family - Dendrobatidae

                 The poison dart frog (also known as a dart-poison frog, poison frog, or poison arrow frog) is the common name for a family of amphibians endemic to tropical Central and South America. These species are diurnal, and their bodies are frequently brilliantly colored. The species' toxicity is linked to their vivid color, making them aposematic. Some Dendrobatidae species have exceptionally vivid colors and High toxicity, whereas others have cryptic colors and little to no toxicity. The toxicity of the species that consume ants, mites, and termites comes from their food. Other species, on the other hand, with cryptic colors and minimal to no toxicity, consume a considerably wider range of prey. Human infrastructure is intruding on the habitats of several species in this family, putting them in jeopardy.

Because Native Americans used their toxic secretions to poison the points of blowdarts, these amphibians are commonly referred to as "dart frogs." Only four species from the Phyllobates genus have been reported as being used for this purpose (curare plants being more regularly utilized), and they are all from the genus Phyllobates, which is known for its huge size and high levels of toxicity.

Dendrobates tinctorius "azureus


             These frogs prefer to reside in the trees closest to the ground or in the leaf litter of the forest floor, according to certain facts about their habits. They love to rest on tree branches and leaves.

These frogs, like other frog species, croak and squeak in order to establish their homes and attract mates. They are mostly diurnal animals, meaning they are active throughout the day.

These frogs don't try to hide from predators since their skin is enough of a deterrent. If their toxins don't kill a predator, they will certainly make it unappealing to eat them. Predators will remember how horrible this frog tasted and will most likely avoid eating another one.

 Dendrobates leucomelas


               The majority of poison dart frog species are tiny, with adults measuring less than 1.5 cm (0.59 in) in length, while a handful reach 6 cm (2.4 in) in length. On average, they weigh 1 oz. To alert prospective predators, most poison dart frogs are brilliantly coloured and feature aposematic patterns. Their brilliant colour is linked to their toxicity and alkaloids levels. Dendrobates frogs, for example, have high alkaloids levels, but Colostethus species are cryptically coloured and not lethal.

An example of an aposematic organism is poison dart frogs. To potential predators, their brilliant colour signals unpalatability. According to evolutionary trees, aposematism is considered to have developed at least four times within the poison dart family, and dendrobatid frogs' aposematic colouring has subsequently experienced substantial interspecific and intraspecific divergences. Given the frequency-dependent nature of this sort of protection mechanism, this is surprising.

Adult frogs lay their eggs in damp areas such as leaves, plants, exposed roots, and other locations. When the eggs hatch, the adult piggybacks the tadpoles to a suitable water source, such as a pool or the water collected in the throats of bromeliads or other plants, one at a time. The tadpoles stay there until they metamorphosis, and are nourished by unfertilized eggs deposited by the mother at regular intervals in some species.

Poison Dart Frog Habitat

             These frogs are found in Central and South America's moist jungles. Also  these frogs are found in tropical rainforests all throughout the world, including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru, Panama, Guyana, Nicaragua, and Hawaii (introduced) They are occasionally mistaken with the Mantella, a tiny, vividly coloured frog species that is exclusively found in Madagascar.

They used to be imported in large quantities to the United States for the pet trade, but this has since decreased. Frogs from other parts of the world are smuggled into Europe.

These frogs do not thrive in extremely polluted places due to their sensitivity to the environment.


           To catch insects, these frogs utilize their long, sticky tongue. The frog becomes a carnivore as a result of its diet. Termites, flies, ants, and a variety of other insects make up its food, which is abundant in the poison dart frog's environment. Tadpoles are omnivorous and will consume algae on occasion. They are also given unfertilized eggs from their parents on occasion. Some frog species are cannibals, eating the tadpoles of other species. 

It is assumed that the poison dart frog's toxicity is caused by its food. Scientists aren't sure which insects the frogs consume that causes them to become poisonous. Toxins are not released from the skin of frogs grown in captivity and fed crickets and fruit flies.

Their long, sticky tongues

Reproduction and Lifespan

These frog Life stages - Copyright ©- Wikipedia 

            Poison dart frogs reproduce at various times throughout the year, frequently in combination with rainy seasons. Males and females vie for the best perches from which to call for mates, while females compete for nesting places during this period. Female frogs have been known to eat other frogs' eggs. After the male has made his mating call and found a female to procreate with, the mating procedure begins. 

The male uses an elaborate wooing ceremony to entice the female to a location where he wants to mate. Wrestling, caressing, and leading the female around are all part of this courting. Before the two decide to settle down and the female may lay her eggs, the ritual might run for several hours.

Ranitomeya amazonica

The females will lay their eggs in the wet leaf litter. The number of eggs varies from one to forty, with an average of 10 eggs each clutch. After the female has lay, the male will fertilize the eggs. Both parents will keep an eye on the eggs, making sure they don't dry up.

The parents will carry the young tadpoles on their backs until they hatch, roughly 10 to 18 days after the eggs have been fertilized. When a parent frog sits in the middle of a clump of young tadpoles, the tadpoles might wiggle their way onto the back of the parents. Parents transport their young to little pools where they can develop and mature, either all at once or a few at a time. After several months, tadpoles will mature into adult frogs. They are extremely vulnerable to predators in this stage of development.

The lifetime of the poison dart frog has not been thoroughly studied. According to some biologists, they can survive as little as three years in the wild. Some species have been recorded to live to be 25 years old in captivity.

In the poison dart frog family, the operational sex ratio is mostly female. This results in a few distinct behaviours and features in creatures with unequal sex ratios. Females, in general, have a choice of partners. Males, on the other hand, have more vibrant colour, are territorial, and hostile against other males. Females choose their partners based on dorsal colouring, calling perch position, and territory.

Toxicity , Medicine

       Lipophilic alkaloid poisons such as allopumiliotoxin 267A, batrachotoxin, epibatidine, histrionic toxin, and pumiliotoxin 251D are secreted by several poison dart frogs via their skin. Poison frogs' skin glands contain alkaloids that act as a chemical defence against predation, allowing them to stay active throughout the day alongside possible predators. In poison frogs, there are approximately 28 structural classes of alkaloids. Phyllobates terribly is the most deadly of the poison dart frog species. The diet-toxicity theory claims that dart frogs do not produce their poisons, but rather sequester them from arthropod prey such as ants, centipedes, and mites.
As a result, captive-bred animals do not have large amounts of poisons because they are fed diets that do not include the alkaloids that wild populations sequester. In fact, new research suggests that some species' maternal frogs deposit unfertilized eggs laced with tiny levels of alkaloids to nourish the tadpoles. This conduct indicates that toxins are introduced at an early age. When the captive-bred frogs are given an alkaloidal diet again, they retain their capacity to collect alkaloids. Some predators have gained the capacity to survive the poisons employed by some poison dart frog. The snake Erythrolamprus epinephalus, for example, has acquired resistance to the venom.

Epibatidine is contained in the skin of the phantasmal poison frog. - Copyright ©- Wikipedia 

It's possible that chemicals derived from the skin of Epipedobates tricolor have medical potential. This poison is used to create a painkiller by scientists. Epibatidine, a painkiller 200 times more powerful than morphine, is one such molecule; unfortunately, the therapeutic dose is extremely near to the deadly amount.

The venom of the golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is enough to kill ten to twenty men or ten thousand mice on average. While most other dendrobatids are bright and poisonous enough to deter predators, they offer significantly less of a threat to humans and other big animals.When handling potentially poisonous species, it is critical to ensure that there are no cuts or open wounds. It also relies on the nutrition of the frog. Poison dart frogs in the wild consume insects that increase their toxicity. Most frogs in captivity do not have the right diet to produce lethal toxins in their skin.

The golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis)


Many poison dart frog species have lately faced habitat degradation, chytrid infections, and pet trade collecting. As a result, some are classified as threatened or endangered. Zoos have attempted to combat the condition by administering an antifungal medication similar to that used to treat athlete's foot in people to caged frogs.

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