Taken at Plantasia Swansea, they were no larger than my finger nail!
Poison dart frog is the common name of a group of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae which are native to Central and South America. Unlike most frogs, these species are active during the day and often have brightly-colored bodies. Although all wild dendrobatids are at least somewhat toxic, levels of toxicity vary considerably from one species to the next and from one population to another. Many species are critically endangered. These amphibians are often called "dart frogs" due to the Amerindians' indigenous use of their toxic secretions to poison the tips of blowdarts. However, of over 175 species, only three have been documented as being used for this purpose (curare plants are more commonly used), and none come from the Dendrobates genus, which is characterized by the brilliant color and complex patterns of its members.
Dyeing dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius).Most species of poison dart frogs are small, sometimes less than 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in) in adult length, although a few grow up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in length. They weigh about 2 grams, depending on the size of the frog. Most poison dart frogs are brightly colored, displaying aposematic patterns to warn potential predators. Their bright coloration is associated with their toxicity and levels of alkaloids. Frogs like the ones of Dendrobates species have high levels of alkaloids, whereas the Colostethus species are cryptically colored and are non-toxic. Unlike most other frogs, they are diurnal, rather than being primarily nocturnal or crepuscular. When born and raised in captivity, poison frogs do not produce the skin toxins which they retain in their native habitat.
Adult frogs lay their eggs in moist places, including on leaves, in plants, among exposed roots, and elsewhere. Once the eggs hatch, the adult piggybacks the tadpoles, one at a time, to suitable water, either a pool, or the water gathered in the throat of bromeliads or other plants. The tadpoles remain there until they metamorphose, fed by unfertilised eggs laid at regular intervals by the mother. They are as small as your finger nail, which makes them very hard to see.
HabitatPoison dart frogs are endemic to humid, tropical environments of Central and Latin America (South America). These frogs are generally found in tropical rainforests, including in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guyana, Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, and non-native to Hawaii.
Natural habitats include subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, subtropical or tropical moist montanes and rivers, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, lakes and swamps. Other species can be found in seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, arable land, pastureland, rural gardens, plantations, moist savanna and heavily degraded former forest. Premontane forests and rocky areas have also been known to hold frogs. Dendrobatids tend to live on or close to the ground, but also in trees as much as 10 metres (33 ft) from the ground.
Wildlife and nature
wonkers, pluckyfilly, Glostopcat and 28 more