Frog of the Week

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio)

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
photo by Marshal Hedin

Common Name: Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Oophaga pumilio
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Location: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama
Size: 0 .6 – 1 inch (17 – 25.4 mm)

The Strawberry Poison Dart Frog is a colorful frog that lives in Central America. Because of its beautiful colors and different variety of morphs, the frog is popular in the pet trade. Also, the frog is also diurnal, meaning active during the day, which is nice for a pet frog. The bright colors of their skin is a sign to predators that they are toxic and should not be eaten. The frog accumulates its poison from its natural diet, so captive bred individuals are not poisonous.

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
La Gruta morph – photo by wikiuser Dendrotoine85

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog Reproduction

The dart frogs breed during the rainy season. The female frogs prefer to mate with brighter colored male frogs. Once the season starts, the male stake out a territory and starts to call for females. They will defend this territory from other males. The female selects a mate and then, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Next, she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Females only lay between 3 and 9 eggs.

Both males and female frog perform parental care. The males protect the egg clutches and keep them moist. Meanwhile,  the females carry the tadpoles after they hatch from the ground to water filled axils of bromeliads. The females also lay unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to eat. This is one of the defining characteristics of the genus Oophaga, which translates to egg eater in Greek.

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Blue Jean morph – photo by wikiuser Pstevendactylus

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. This is due to the wide range and presumed large population of the species.

photo by John P Clare

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