Poison Dart Frogs
Poison dart frogs live in the tropical rainforests in parts of Central and South America. A few species also live on the Hawaiian Islands. Poison dart frogs generally eat small insects and spiders. Depending on their species, they live between three and fifteen years in the wild.
1. Scientific & Common Names
4. Present Status
Scientific & Common Names
There are over 100 individual species of poison dart frogs, but they all belong to the Dendrobatidae family. These frogs are also commonly known as poison arrow frogs.
Poison dart frogs come in a variety of bright colors, including yellow, green, red, blue, and gold. They also feature a variety of patterns on their skin, including spots and stripes. Their coloring is thought to help them blend into their surroundings and ward off predators. Their skin contains toxins that are poisonous to predators that attempt to eat them. Poison dart frogs vary in size, but the average size is 1 inch.
Poison dart frogs typically breed from July through September. Male frogs attract females through vocalizations. In certain poison dart frog species, males help guard the eggs and transport them if needed. When the eggs hatch, the adult male carries the tadpoles to a source of water and leaves them to fend for themselves. It takes about three months for the tadpoles to turn into frogs.
Poison dart frogs use their toxic skin to deter predators, but those in captivity do not have this characteristic. Scientists believe that wild poison dart frogs acquire their poison from the insects they eat. Poison dart frogs are active during the day, usually searching for food.
Poison dart frogs are still found in much of their native habitat, although some species have declined due to habitat loss. Local tribes have used the poison from these frogs for years to coat arrows and other weapons. The medical community is currently researching the medicinal uses of poison dart frog toxins, one of which has shown potential as a painkiller.
Some species of poison dart frogs are endangered, mainly due to deforestation. One species, the golden arrow poison frog of Panama, is listed as Critically Endangered and protected under local law. Other species have experienced significant population declines in recent years.