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Poison Frogs

Dendrobates sp.
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
Central and South America
Tropical forests with sources of water

Poison frogs mostly eat small bugs, including ants. They are able to process ant venom into dangerous poisons that they can then secrete through their skin. They are not affected by their own poison because they have modified receptors in their nerves that don't allow poison to bind and cause harm.

These frogs have vibrant colouration. The intensity of their bright colors is associated with their toxicity and the amount of poison they produce. The use of vibrant colour is called "aposematism", and it displays a warning to potential predators. If a predator is injured by the poison of one frog, it will quickly learn to avoid frogs with similar colours. A similar effect would happen for a social predator species, with other individuals learning from the misfortune of one member of their group.

Adult poison frogs lay their eggs in moist locations, such as on leaves, plants, exposed roots, and other suitable surfaces. During the breeding season, which typically occurs during the rainy period, males establish territories and emit calls to attract females. Female frogs engage in physical competition for access to males. Once a pair forms, the male leads the female to a calm location near water, where she deposits the eggs and the male fertilizes them. The male guards the eggs within his territory, with some assistance from the females. After about 14 to 18 days, the eggs hatch.

Poison Frogs are classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, with stable population numbers.