The blue poison dart frog, also called poison arrow frog, is a small frog whose bright blue color warns predators to stay away. He weighs only about a tenth of an ounce, but he can paralyze or kill predators with his toxins. Amerindian tribes coated the tips of their darts and arrows with the blue frogs' poison. Surprisingly, captive-raised blue dart frogs are not toxic. Wild blue poison frogs absorb toxins when they ingest poisonous ants.
Physical Characteristics and Diet
The blue poison dart frog's back is medium blue, with a dark blue belly and azure blue legs. An irregular black and dark blue pattern on his back and head is individual to each frog, like a human's fingerprint. His toxins are secreted through his skin. He uses his long sticky tongue and excellent eyesight when foraging for ants, termites, spiders, caterpillars, maggots and beetles.
Habitat and Predators
Blue poison dart frogs are found in the South American country of Suriname. They live in the rainforest surrounded by the dry Sipaliwini Savannah. Blue dart frogs forage near streams on moss-covered rocks, where flying bugs are plentiful. The poison dart frog family has only one natural predator, the leimadophis epinephelus, a snake that's unique because of its resistance to the frog's toxins.
The male blue poison dart frog establishes a territory near water for the mating ritual during the rainy season. He sings to attract female frogs to his chosen territory. Several female blue poison frogs fight over the male. The winning female becomes amorous, nudging the male and stroking his back with her legs. The pair then retires to a spawning chamber, where they mate.
The female poison blue dart frog deposits dozens of eggs on leaves. The male frog, and sometimes the female, checks on the eggs, keeping them moist. Tadpoles hatch in about two weeks and attach themselves to their dad's back using a mucus secretion. The dad carries the tadpoles to wet holes, small ponds and water-filled cans or tires, where they will develop for three months. The mom brings sterile eggs to help feed the tadpoles.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.