Blue Poison Arrow Frog

The blue poison arrow frog, or Dendrobates azureus originates from Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guyana,Colombia, Brazil and Surinam - North America and South America.

How did it get its name?  Well, their skin contains poison and the Colombian Indians take the poison to smear on to their weapons such as blow-pipe darts and arrows to help kill animals while they are hunting. 

It is true to say that only a few species are used in this way, but the name seems to have stuck for all the family!

There are a number of poison arrow frogs such as the blue, the Dendrobates pumilio which is the strawberry poison arrow frog, and the Dendrobates leucomelas, the orange-banded poison arrow frog.  However, the most toxic and poisonous of the poison arrow (or dart) frogs is the Phyllobates terribilis (the Golden Poison Frog). 

It is assumed that dart frogs do not synthesize (make chemically) their poisons, but confiscate the chemicals from their prey such as ants, centipedes and mites.

It is known as dietary hypothesis. Because of this, captive-bred animals do not contain such high levels of toxins. However, despite the toxins used by some poison dart frogs, there are some predators that have developed the ability to withstand them, such as the Amazon ground snake (Liophis epinephelus).

  • The blue poison arrow frogs (or dart frogs) are extremely brightly-coloured and toxic amphibians in the family Dendrobatidae. Because they are brightly coloured, this serves as a warning to predators, that they would be harmful to eat.  The poison is located in the skin. They are fairly small measuring around 4cm.
  • In the wild, they love to live amongst the constantly damp leaf litter on the floor of the rainforest.  They are active mostly during the mornings and the evenings.
  • Did you know...that the male blue poison arrow frog makes a very good father?!  Each male has a piece of land on the forest floor which he defends by chirping and trilling and showing off his colours. Eventually, if his chirp and display are good enough, he will attract a female companion.
  • They can breed all year and the female will lay around 6 to 10 eggs in a secluded patch or even a leaf.  
  • They are fertilised by the male.  The male actually takes on the job of caring for the eggs during this stage and guards them carefully. 
  • He keeps them moist by obtaining water from a nearby source such as a pool. 
  • After about 3 - 4 weeks the tadpoles are ready to hatch, and the male frog allow the tadpoles to wriggle on to his back and then he carries them to a pool of water. This water could be on the forest floor, or it could be located in a leaf bract on a plant higher up from the ground. 
  • Then for a month or so the little tadpoles feed on algae until they are ready to metamorphose (change into frogs)

Blue Poison Arrow Frog... and close relation the Strawberry dart frog

Strawberry poison arrow frogs operate slightly differently.  In her case she will lay eggs that are unfertilised for the tadpoles to eat in the pools.  

  • Just like common frogs, they will first develop their hind legs, then front legs and start to lose their tail, and when this is done, they will climb out of the water and begin life on land.  
  • Once on land, they hunt and eat small invertebrates.  They mature at around a year old and can lives for up to 15 years.
  • They like to eat insects such as ants, and the ants actually provide some of the frogs' toxins.  They will also eat hatchling crickets,fruit flies and aphids.

› blue poison arrow frog

To find out more about frog reproduction, pleaseclick here...

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