Strawberry-dart Frog

Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, Oophaga pumilio,

pumilio_frog1Description: These small poison-dart frogs reach their adult size at 20mm long. Unlike many other species of amphibian, they are active during the day. They are easily seen due to their bright coloration, which acts as a warning to predators that they are poisonous if eaten. Although commonly referred to as the ‘Strawberry Poison-dart Frog’, this species varies greatly in colour throughout its range; frogs from differing localities may be red, green, blue, yellow or a combination of these colours and with varying patterns.

Reproduction: Males call throughout the day to declare their territories and to also attract females. Once a female has chosen a male, she will produce a small clutch of 4-6 eggs on a leaf or on the ground, which are then fertilized. The male guards the eggs until they are ready to hatch; upon hatching he transports the tadpoles on his back to the water-filled centres of a bromeliad plant growing within his territory. Here he deposits the tadpoles and then cares for them by attracting the female back to lay infertile eggs within the bromeliad. The tadpoles feed on the infertile ‘food’ eggs and will eat nothing else. This is where this frog species gets its Latin name from, ‘Oophaga’ meaning ‘Egg Eater’, which directly refers to the tadpole’s specialised diet.

Diet: These frogs feed on small invertebrates amongst leaf-litter on the forest floor.

Distribution: Central America; Costa Rica and Panama, including the Panamanian Islands of Bocas Del Toro.

Conservation Status: Endangered

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