Green And Black Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates auratus
The Green and Black Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus), known also as the Green and Black Poison Arrow Frog, and occasionally the Mint Poison Frog, is a brightly colored member of the order Anura that is native to Central America and northwestern parts of South America. It’s one of the most variable of all poison dart frogs next to Dendrobates Tinctorius and some Oophaga spp. It’s considered to be of least concern from a conservation standpoint by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
While this frog is not the most toxic poison dart frog, it is still a highly toxic animal. The very small amount of poison the frog possesses is still enough to make a person sick. Like most poison dart frogs, however, it will only release its poison if it feels threatened, and wild specimens can be handled if the human holding it is calm and relaxed. As with all poison dart frogs, it loses its toxicity in captivity because of the change in its diet. This has led scientists to believe that the green and black poison dart frog actually takes it poison from the ants is consumes.
The male frogs reach about .75 inches long. The females are slightly larger. As the common name â€œmint poison dart frogâ€ suggests, the green and black poison dart frog typically has mint-green coloration; however, they can be forest, lime, emerald green, pale yellow, turquoise, or even cobalt blue as well. Many also have splotches of dark colors, ranging from a wood brown color to black. This frog is one of the most variable of all poison frogs regarding appearance. Some have black or brown splotches and others are speckled.
D. auratus is semi arboreal, hunting, courting, and sleeping in the trees. But being a small frog, it cannot jump far enough to span the distances between the trees, so it returns to the ground to travel. To assist in climbing, this frog has small sucker-like discs on the ends of its toes, which create a slight suction as the frog climbs, making its grip mildly adhesive.
Like in all poison dart frogs, this one gathers in large groups before mating. They squabble over their territories but eventually each individual male frog clears a small patch for himself. The females wander among the males. The males then attempt to impress the females with their bird-like mating calls. Once a male has caught the attention of the female, he leads her to a site he has chosen for egg deposition. The female lays her eggs, which he then fertilizes. In about 14 days, these hatch into tadpoles. Their parents, usually the male, then carry the tadpoles into the canopy, with the tadpoles sticking to the mucus on their parents’ backs. The parents then deposit their tadpoles into the small pools of water that accumulate in the center of bromeliads, and protect the tadpoles while they feed on algae and small invertebrates that inhabit the tiny pool.
Image Caption: Green and black poison arrow frog in Carara National Park, Costa Rica. Credit: Michelle Reback/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)