South America: French Guiana, Guyana, Surinam and Northeastern Brazil
Rain forest in cracks or clefts of tree trunks sometimes 30 feet above the ground and near a stream
Wild: Ants, termites and other small Arthropods (spiders, insects)
Zoo: Fruit flies and crickets
Incubation: Larvae hatch in about two weeks; front legs erupt from the tadpole in three months and it becomes a frog shortly thereafter
Clutch size: 5 to 20 eggs
unknown 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. The frog is the largest of the family and is over two inches long. It has no teeth. Its color , black with brilliant yellow stripes and a blue belly and legs with black spots, alerts potential predators that its skin holds a poisonous liquid which is unpleasant to the taste. They may also be colored brown-black with venally yellow and white stripes depending on the area where they are found.
Behavior: The frog is active during the day, foraging in the leaf letter for its food. It moves in short hops and is rarely still for more than a few moments. They are territorial, and will dispute their territory by having 'wrestling matches.'
Reproduction: Mating is done by amplexus in which the male clasps the female while she lays her five to 20 eggs. He fertilizes these immediately after they are expelled before the jelly which 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 stream. Here they develop into tadpoles and eventually into frogs by metamorphosis.
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 ants which they eat in the wild.
- Also known as the Dyeing Poison Dart Frog.
- Only two species of the poison arrow frogs have been used to poison arrows or darts, but the whole genus received the name.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the RainForest Amphibian Exhibits at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.