Unlike our native temperate frogs which are generally limited to habitats near water, tropical frogs are most abundant in the rainforest and relatively few are found near to water bodies. The reason for this is simple: frogs, like most amphibians, must always keep their skin moist since around half of their respiration occurs through their skin. The constant high humidity of the rainforest and frequent heavy rain allows tropical frogs the ability to move away from the waterbodies into more diverse rainforest habitats. The differences between temperate and tropical frogs extend beyond their habitats. Whereas nearly all temperate frogs lay their eggs in water, the majority of rainforest species lay their eggs in or on vegetation or on the ground concealed within leaf litter. Among the best known of rainforest amphibians are the brilliantly coloured poison dart frogs of the Dendrobatidae family.
Dendrobatesis the second largest genus in the Dendrobatidae family, with well over 40 species having been described to date.
The scientific classification is as follows...
Poison Dart Frogs are native to Central and South America and in many of these areas are threatened by extinction. Probably the greatest threats are large scale habitat loss and the illegal collecting of some rarer species that are then smuggled into Europe and other countries.
The family of dart frogs underwent a taxonomic review in 2006 and now contains 11 genera. The majority of dart frogs are small, brightly coloured neotropical frogs. Their name is derived from the fact that the majority of the group produce toxic skin alkaloids, which are sequested from the invertebrates they eat. Three species (Phyllobates terribilis, Phyllobates aurotaenia, and Phyllobates bicolor) provide the origins on the name as they were regularly used to poison blow-pipe darts for hunting animals, in Colombia. A practise that rarely happens nowdays has firearms have become readily available. The most toxic species of any frog is Phyllobates terribilis, which produces batrachotoxins and homobatrachoxins at a level approximately 20-fold that of other dart-poison frogs.
All dendrobatid species are diurnal and lay eggs on land and many exhibit parental care, with the males or females (depending on the species) transporting their tadpoles on the back of the parent. In some species such as the Oophaga each tadpole is placed in separate water filled bromeliad axils or other small water-containing sites. Depending on species, males, females or both make regular visits to the tadpoles and the female will deposit an unfertilized egg to feed the tadpole. Males are highly territorial and regularly engage in cephalic amplexus with the female.
Select your species from the list below...