Little Devil Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga sylvatica)

photo by Juan C. Santos

Common Name: Little Devil Poison Dart Frog or the Diablito
Scientific Name: Oophaga sylvatica
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Colombia and Ecuador
Size: 1 – 1.5 inches (26-38 mm)

The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog is a diurnal (active during the day) species of frogs. They are able to move about the forest floor due to their bright coloration that warns predators that they are poisonous. They obtain their poisons from the alkaloid chemicals in the prey, which is primarily ants and mites.

The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog breeds all year long. The males will establish territories and will guard them from other males. Once a female selects a mate, the male will lead her to a suitable breeding location. Interesting for frogs, there is no amplexus in the species. The males will deposit their sperm on the ground or in a water bodied. Then the females will lay their eggs. After mating, the male will guard the eggs until they hatch. After the eggs hatch, the female will move each individual tadpole to its own pool. The female frog will provide further care for the tadpoles by laying unfertilized eggs in the pools for the tadpoles to eat.

The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog is listed as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The primary threat to the frogs is habitat destruction for urban areas, farms, and logging. Better protections for their habitat is needed.

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