Sunday, November 28

Cute but deadly creatures.. what you don’t know about poison dart frogs

Poison dart frogs are small creatures, only 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, and are diurnal, which means they are active during the day.

Poison dart frogs are small, brightly colored amphibians that live in tropical rainforests across Central and South America. They belong to the family Dendrobatidae, where there are more than 175 known species, according to the San Francisco Zoo.

Poison dart frogs are small creatures, measuring only 2.5 to 5 centimeters in length, and unlike many other amphibians, they are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, according to the Rainforest Alliance.Rainforest AllianceThe international non-governmental organization.

Dart frogs are native to Venezuela and parts of Guyana and Brazil (Getty Images)

Why was it called by that name?

A report published by Live Science on November 6 states that poison dart frogs were so named because of the toxins they secrete from their skin, which were used in the past on the edges of hunters’ weapons. Indigenous peoples of Emberá and Noanamá in western Colombia have skinned Phyllobates terribilis on arrowheads for hundreds of years, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

Poison arrow frogs have bright colors, so they are sometimes known as “the jewels of the rainforest”, and take bright colors such as yellow and red as a kind of warning to those approaching them from enemies, and this survival mechanism is called color warning or “aposematism”.

Some species of poison dart frogs also use their colors for camouflage. For example, the poison dart frog Dendrobates tinctorius uses its light yellow and black shapes to match their natural environment when viewed, according to research published in 2018 in the journal “PNAS”. (PNAS).

The huge diversity of colors among poison dart frog species may be the result of the separation of frog ancestors about 10,000 years ago, when the waters flooded Panama, sequestering the frogs in different locations, after which different groups of frogs developed their own colors, according to the Smithsonian Institute.

A colorful frog so amazing because of the huge variety of colors among the species of poison dart frogs (Getty Images)

How toxic are frogs?

The toxicity of dart frogs varies with different species, and the most venomous species of poisonous dart frogs belongs to the genus Phyllobats, as these frogs secrete a strong poison called “Batrachotoxin”, according to the “Encyclopedia of Toxicology”, according to the “Encyclopedia of Toxicology”. Golden dart frogs are one of the most venomous animals on Earth, according to National Geographic.

“Patrachotoxin”; It is an alkaloid steroid poison that affects the nervous system of the body, while the brain sends electrical signals to different parts of the body that pass through sodium channels; Batrachotoxin keeps these channels open and disrupts the brain’s signaling system, causing many debilitating and potentially fatal conditions, such as paralysis, severe pain, and even cardiac arrest.

However, there is only one animal that can withstand the poisonous powers of golden arrow frogs; The fire-bellied snake Liophis epinephelus is the only natural predator of arrow frogs because it is immune to frog toxins, according to Animal Diversity Web.

Poison dart frogs have also developed techniques to spare themselves endogenous toxins.Journal of General Physiology(Journal of General Physiology) notes that poison dart frogs have molecules that act as “venom sponges” that prevent “batrachotoxin” from binding to sites on the frogs’ cells, giving them immunity against their toxins.

What do poisonous frogs eat?

In the pre-mature stage (tadpoles), their diet consists of everything available to them, such as algae, dead insects and in some cases; Other tadpoles, and adult poison arrow frogs are carnivores and plants, but they mostly feed on insects such as ants, termites and beetles, according to the San Diego Wildlife Federation.

And poison dart frogs get their toxicity through their diet, although it is still largely unknown – which insects are responsible for giving these frogs their poisonous power – said a study published in Patrol “BanasMelyrid beetles – the genus Choresine – may be the cause.

These beetles contain high levels of batrachotoxin, which has been found in the stomachs of Pitohui birds – which produce the same poison secreted by poison frogs. In South America, it is a source of batrachotoxin, which is found in frogs, “Phyllobates”, which are highly toxic in that region.”

Poison dart frogs lose their toxicity in captivity, while captive-bred frogs do not develop toxins at all, and this is due to the difference between a wild and captive diet, according to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

The mock poison arrow frog “Gampato” at the Amphibian Conservation Center in San Rafael, southeast of Quito (French)

What is the life cycle of a poisonous frog?

Mating occurs throughout the year, but especially during rainy seasons. In order for mating to occur, the female lays unfertilized eggs on the foliage in a dark and humid environment. The male releases sperms on the eggs to fertilize them, which vary in size, as in some species up to 40 eggs in One time, according to the Smithsonian Institution and the National Zoo.

The parents guard their offspring, which has not yet come to life for a period of 10 to 18 days, and the eggs hatch into tadpoles that stick to their mother’s back, then carry them into a pool of water, turning the pool into a nursery for tadpoles for the next few months, until they undergo transformation and become adult frogs, according to the Smithsonian Institution. .

A study published in “Symbiosis” periodical(Symbiosis) indicates that bromeliad plants also benefit from the presence of tadpoles between their leaves, and the researchers suggest that plants benefit from the absorption of nitrogen produced by tadpoles droppings, which acts as fertilizer.

Adult poison dart frogs vary in size between species and can range from 20 to 40 millimeters in length, according to the Smithsonian. Females tend to be larger than males. Males can also be distinguished from females by the larger pads of the front toes in some species, such as frogs. Dendrobates azureus, according to the Peoria Zoo in Illinois (USA).

The age at which these amphibians reach sexual maturity also varies between species. For example, the frogs of Oophaga pumilio reach maturity 10 months after puberty, according to the Animal Diversity Web site. While blue poison dart frogs take two years to become ready to mate, according to the Toronto Zoo, the average lifespan of a poison dart frog ranges between 3 and 15 years, according to National Geographic.

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