Dyeing dart frog

Dyeing dart frog

Dendrobates tinctorius

Conservation status: IUCN – LC (Least concern). 

Geographic range: Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname.

Physical description: This medium-sized frog weighs about 3 g with a body length of 3-5 cm. It has smooth, bright blue skin with black spots warning predators that it secretes poisonous neurotoxins. Their legs have 4 fingers and every one of them ends with a wide flat nub with sucker cups, helping them stick to slippery surfaces. Males and females look similar but females are generally a little larger and have round finger tips while males have heart-shaped finger tips.

Biology: Contrary to other frog species, the dyeing dart frog spawns outside of the water under stones or logs, where it’s always damp and mossy. The frog itself doesn’t actually produce the crippling neurotoxins in its skin. These are produced as a product of certain insects in their diet (especially ants) and later secreted through its skin glands. In captivity, they usually lose this defense mechanism due to the deliberate removal of toxin-producing items from their diet.

Lifespan: In the wild 4-6 years, in captivity 10-12 years.

Food habits: Flies, ants, spiders, termites and other small insects.

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