Reticulated Poison Frog, Ranitomeya ventrimaculata

The Reticulated Poison Frog (Ranitomeya ventrimaculata) known in French as dendrobate a ventre tachete, is a species of poison dart frog. It is endemic to South America, where it can be found in Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Peru, and Ecuador. It resides in tropical rainforests, in trees and occasionally on the ground. It’s threatened by loss of habitat.

This frog secretes poison through glands within the skin which protect it from fungi and bacteria as well as from predators, which are also warned to stay away by the aposematic coloration. It is therefore frequently included among the dart-poison frogs, although its toxin is comparatively weak. This frog produces poison by ingesting a species of mite.

It is active during the day and grows to be about 0.79 inches, with the males being smaller than the females. Its base color is black, and it has yellow lines or dots on its back, whereas the belly has bluish or grayish coloration with interspersed black patches; the color of the belly continues into a netlike pattern on the legs.

It reaches adulthood at the age of six months. The females attach four eggs to leaves beneath the water level, where they are inseminated by the male. The tadpoles leave the eggs after twelve to sixteen days. The male carries them one by one to puddles or similar minute bodies of water; as the tadpoles are omnivorous and cannibalistic, they are separated from each other in the process. Metamorphosis into a frog is achieved after 60 to 80 days; at which point they become independent of their parents but have a tendency to stay close in proximity.

Image Caption: Ranitomeya ventrimaculata (syn.: Dendrobates ventrimaculatus), 2008 frog exhibit at National Geographic Museum, Washington, DC. Credit: TomR/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)