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Green and Black Poison Dart Frog Fact File

Appearance

The green and black poison dart frog is brightly colored as a warning to predators that they are poisonous and harmful if consumed.

Across the body they are colored with a blotched pattern of black and green or light blue.

Each of the toes feature a small adhesive disk which assists them with scaling trees and other surfaces.

Males have a small vocal sac under the throat though this is barely visible in most individuals.

They lack webbing between their toes which makes them poor swimmers.

Adults reach a length of up to 4cm (1.57in). An average adult weighs just 2g (0.07oz).

Females tend to be larger than the males though males often have larger front feet pads.

Diet

The green and black poison frog is an insectivore. Their diet includes crickets, flies, beetles, termites, spiders and other invertebrates.

Their sticky tongue is useful in securing prey to eat.

The poison they create is derived from the food which they eat.

green and black poison frog

Scientific Name

Dendrobates auratus

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Weight

2g (0.07oz)

Length

4cm (1.57in)

Lifespan

Wild – 6 years

Captive 10-15 years

Diet

Insectivorous

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Range

South America is the native home of the green and black poison frog. This species is naturally found in Colombia; Costa Rica; Nicaragua; Panama and the mainland United States.

The species has been introduced to the island of Hawaii. The population here was introduced to control non-native insects.

Habitat

They make their home in lowland and sub-montane forest along with dense secondary forest. These animals will also make use of human altered habitats such as cocoa plantations.

green and black poison frog

Reproduction

Mating occurs from July to September.

Females actively compete with others for a mate and they then guard their mate against others. Prior to mating they gather in groups with males establishing a small territory where they will call out to females who move between the males till they find a suitable partner.

These animals will lay their eggs on leaf-litter. The male will stay with the eggs and help to guard them. It will take the 3-13 eggs between 13 and 16 days to hatch.

Males occasionally care for multiple clutches from multiple females at the same time.

Following the hatching the male will carry his tadpoles from the hatching site to a puddle of stagnant water in a tree-hole or a bromeliad.

Tadpoles will feed on protozoans until they metamorphose in to an adult frog in 39-89 days.

Sexual maturity is reached between 6 and 15 months old.

Behavior

This species is arboreal with much of its time spent in the trees. Their small size means they cannot jump between trees and must descend to move around.

The call of the male is described as a bird-like buzzing noise. Another method of communication is their stance.

green and black poison frog

Predators and Threats

These animals are able to avoid most predators due to their toxic skin secretions.

Humans affect the population of the green and black poison frog through habitat loss and alteration along with collection for the pet trade.

Records also exist of this species contracting chytrid fungus which may cause health issues and lead to a decline in the species.

Quick facts

Green and black poison frogs are one of the 100 different kinds of poison dart frog which are currently recorded.

Poison dart frogs got their name from the habit of the Colombian Choco Indians using the poison from this species on the tip of their hunting darts. These darts can then be used to bring down animals as large as monkeys.

In captivity these animals lose their poison due to a change in diet.

Scientists are studying their poison as it may provide a pain killed 200x more effective than morphine.

green and black poison frog

Photo Credits

Top

By © Hans Hillewaert, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7690947

Middle One

By H. Zell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82586682

Middle Two

By The Lord of the Allosaurs – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21177592

Bottom

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Green Poison Frog (Dendrobates auratus), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40167715

References

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2020. Dendrobates auratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T55174A3024941. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T55174A3024941.en. Downloaded on 29 March 2021.

2017. Green and Black Poison Dart Frog. [ebook] Potter Park Zoo Docents, p.1. Available at: <https://potterparkzoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Amphibian_Green_Black_Poison_Dart_Frog.pdf> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Jacksonvillezoo.org. 2021. Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog | Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. [online] Available at: <https://www.jacksonvillezoo.org/green-and-black-poison-dart-frog> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Stlzoo.org. 2021. Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog | Saint Louis Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/amphibians/frogsandtoads/greenandblackpoisondartfro> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Cosley Zoo. 2021. Green and Black Poison Dart Frog. [online] Available at: <https://cosleyzoo.org/green-and-black-poison-dart-frog/> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Zoonewengland.org. 2021. Green and Black Poison Dart Frog | Stone Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.zoonewengland.org/stone-zoo/our-animals/reptiles-amphibians/green-and-black-poison-dart-frog/> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

The Dallas World Aquarium | #DWAZOO. 2021. Green and black poison dart frog | The Dallas World Aquarium. [online] Available at: <https://dwazoo.com/animal/green-black-poison-dart-frog/> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Peoria Zoo. 2021. Green and Black Poison Dart Frog – Peoria Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.peoriazoo.org/animal-groups/amphibians/green-and-black-poison-dart-frog/> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

Buffalo Zoo. 2021. Green-and-Black Poison Dart Frog – Buffalo Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://buffalozoo.org/animal/green-and-black-poison-dart-frog/> [Accessed 29 March 2021].

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