Blue Poison Dart Frog
Dendrbates Tinctorius Azureus
Blue Poison Dart Frog or Blue Poison Arrow Frog is also known by local native Tirio Indian name, Okopipi.
Quite a small frog between about 2.5 and 3.5 cms. Females are larger than males. Bright blue, lighter on top and darker belly and legs with black patches. Like human fingerprints, the skin pattern is unique to each frog. Has a distinctive ‘hunchback’ appearance.
Threats include habitat destruction, illegal collection for the pet trade, pollution and a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis, which to date, has caused the extinction and decline of over 200 species of frog.
The Blue Poison Dart Frog is just one of over 200 species of poison dart frog, a quarter of which are classified as threatened or critically endangered.
The skin of Blue Poison Dart frogs is adapted to store toxins that can paralyse or kill potential predators. The bright blue colour serves as a warning to potential predators that it is not good to eat! The skin is also very sticky which holds in moisture as these frogs live most of their lives out of water on the forest floor. This sticky skin is also where this frog carries it’s tadpoles on it’s back.
Feeding and habits:
Blue Poison Dart frogs are carnivorous and in the wild will eat insects, including caterpillars, ants, termites, beetles, flies and mites. Spiders and other small arthropods are also eaten. The poisons ingested from their food, especially the ants and some caterpillars, are stored in the skin making them poisonous themselves.
Here, at the Jungle Zoo we feed our Blue Poison Dart frogs fruit flies, meal worms and crickets so, as they ingest no toxins with their food, they have lost their toxicity and are perfectly harmless.
Blue Poison Dart frogs are diurnal, that is, active by day.
4 – 6 years in the wild, up to 12 years in captivity.
Why are they called Poison Dart frogs?
The Choco Indians from Columbia poison the tips of their darts with poison dart frog poison. They wipe the darts on the back of a poison dart frog after heating the frog over a campfire. They use these darts to kill howler monkeys and other small animals.
The poison dulls the nerves and can produce heart and respiratory failure. The poison that some species secrete is the most powerful animal poison known.
As little as 2 micrograms of the poison can kill an adult human. Each frog contains nearly 200 micrograms. The poison from one frog could kill 100 adult humans!
Not all poison dart frogs have strong poisons. Some of them only secrete skin poisons that taste terrible or make you sick or throw up if you eat the frog.
The poison from only three kinds of poison dart frog is a threat to humans: Phyllobates terribilis, Phyllobates aurotaenia and Phyllobates bicolor. Not the Blue Poison Dart frog!
Phyllobates terribilis is the most poisonous. Just touching it might kill you. It contains 20 times more concentration of this toxin than any other species and is one of the most toxic animals in the world.
The poison in the skin of one Phyllobates terribilis frog is enough to kill more than 20,000 laboratory mice!
When was the Blue Poison Dart frog discovered?
Because where it lives is so remote, this beautiful creature was only discovered less than 50 years ago, in 1969!
Why don’t these frogs have webbed feet like frogs are supposed to have?
They rarely go in the water and are poor swimmers. They live on the damp jungle floor and move their tadpoles on their backs if they need to