Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Green and Black Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates auratus

Green and Black poison dart frogs are small amphibians about 4 cm (1.5 inches) long. They have poison glands on the surface of their body, and toxins are produced by their diet in the wild. Their bright colors and bold markings are believed to discourage predators.

Range & Habitat

Green and Black poison dart frogs are found on the floor of rainforests in Central America from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. They prefer locations near small streams or pools.

Diet

In the Wild – Adult frogs eat spiders, ants, termites, beetles, mites; tadpoles eat rotifers, protozoans, woody detritus, other tadpoles.

At the Zoo: Adults: pinhead crickets, wingless fruit flies; tadpoles receive crushed, flaked fish food and algae.

Life Span

In the Wild – unknown; In Human Care – 10-15 years (record is 20.5 years).

Fun Facts about the Green and Black Poison Dart Frog

  • Poison dart frogs are also known as poison arrow frogs. They get this name because hunters living in the rainforest traditionally used the frogs’ skin toxins on their darts and arrows. Some frogs are more poisonous than others. The toxins come from the ants or other insects they eat in the wild. Captive-bred poison dart frogs are not toxic due to their different diet.
  • There are over 100 different species of poison dart frogs.

Sources

Sante Fe Community College Teaching Zoo, (n.d.). Meet the animals: green and black poison arrow frog. Retrieved Oct. 01, 2005, from Sante Fe Community College Teaching Zoo Web site: http://inst.sfcc.edu/~zoo/arrowfr.htm.

Schafer, R. 1999. “Dendrobates auratus” (on-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed October 28, 2005 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Dendrobates_auratus.html.

Walls, J. (1994). Jewels of the rainforest -- poison frogs of the family dendrobatidae. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications, Inc.

Updated March 12, 2021
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