Brief SummaryRead full entry
BiologyFamed for the alkaloid-based poison excreted from its skin, which can paralyse or kill potential predators, such as snakes and large spiders, the blue colouration of this frog actually serves as a warning that it is toxic. Its toxicity is obtained from its diet, which consists mainly of ants, although it will also consume many other arthropod species (2). Sometimes known as the blue poison arrow frog due to the tribal practice of dipping a dart tip in the poison before hunting. Moving amongst its habitat during the day with small leaps, the blue poison frog is an active species, as well as being bold, aggressive, and territorial. Males initiate breeding between February and March, calling loudly to attract females. If one or more females move towards a male, fights may ensue, with the victorious female earning the right to stroke the male's snout and back with her forelegs in courtship. The male then leads the female to an area that is moistened in preparation for egg-laying. The female continues to stroke the male, signalling that she is ready to deposit her eggs, and stimulating the male to release his sperm. Between two and six eggs are laid and are kept moist by the male. They hatch after 14 – 18 days and the tadpoles are carried to water pools within plants such as bromeliads on the backs of both the male and the female. For a further two to three months, the female repeatedly returns to each tadpole and lays an unfertilised egg for the tadpole to eat. At this time, the tadpoles are at risk of predation by snakes and mosquito larvae. Over time the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis, to form an adult blue poison frog. They are sexually mature at around two years old, and can live for up to five years (2) (4).