South America: The Sipaliwini savannah of southern Surinam near the border with Brazil
Drier forest islands within the Rain forest near smaller streams
Wild: Ants, termites and other small Arthropods (spiders, insects)
Zoo: Fruit flies and crickets
Incubation: become tadpoles in about 18 days and change into frogs 10 to 12 weeks later through metamorphosis
Clutch size: Four to six eggs
Four to six years in wild, about ten years in captivity
The frog has a slim body with a rounded snout, slender legs with toes and fingers having small adhesive discs for climbing when necessary. The frog is less than two inches long. It has no teeth. Its color, bright blue with black dots on its back and a light blue stomach, alerts potential predators that its skin holds a poisonous liquid which is unpleasant to the taste. The alkaloid poisons are capable of paralyzing, even killing predators. They have four toes per foot, each with a wide,
flattened tip and a suction cup pad to help grip. Males and females appear quite similar.
Behavior: The frog is active during the day, foraging in the leaf litter for its food. It moves in short hops and is rarely still for more than a few moments. These frogs are solitary except for fighting and breeding. They are territorial, and will dispute their territory by have 'wrestling matches.'
Reproduction: Mating is done, during the rainy season, by amplexus in which the male clasps the female while she lays her four to six eggs. He fertilizes these immediately after they are expelled before the jelly that surrounds them swells. All eggs are laid on the ground and are guarded by the parents until they become larvae. The male then attaches the larvae to his back by a mucous secretion and carries them to a small pool of water. Here they develop into tadpoles and eventually into frogs through metamorphosis. (Females have been observed fighting aggressively over males, the winner then begins the courtship.)
Did You Know?
- The first amphibians go back more than 350 million years and frogs were already on the earth when the first dinosaurs appeared more than 200 million years ago. At the present time they have outlasted the dinosaurs by 65 million years.
- The frogs secrete several different poisons in their skin. In captive breeding the frogs eventually do not produce these toxic alkaloids in their skin like they do in the wild. This is because their diet in captivity does not include the insects that they eat in the wild.
- The order name Anura means "'without a tail.'
- Only two species of the poison arrow frogs have been used to poison arrows/darts, but the whole genus received the name.
- The pattern of spots is unique to each frog and serves as a 'fingerprint' to differentiate individuals.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the RainForest Amphibian Exhibits at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.