Frog of the Week

Harlequin Poison Frog (Oophaga histrionica)

Harlequin Poison Frog
photo by Daniel Vásquez-Restrepo

Common Name: Harlequin Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Oophaga histrionica
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Location: Colombia
Size: 1.3 inches (3.3 cm)

The Harlequin Poison Frog lives amongst the leaf litter of the Chocó region of western Colombia. The males call from up to a 3.2 feet (1 meter) off the ground to attract females. The female lays her eggs amongst the leaf litter. Once the eggs hatch, one of the parent carries the tadpole over to a water filled bromeliad to live for awhile. The mother comes to the tadpole and will lay an unfertilized egg for the tadpole to eat. The mother will need to do this until the tadpole completes its metamorphosis or else it will starve.

In 2018, researchers split the frog into four different species.

The frog is found in the pet trade but make sure you are buying captive bred individuals. However, some people in the pet trade aren’t fully up to date on the scientific literature and might be listing one of the species broken off from the Harlequin Poison Frog as it. Read my article Preparing for a Pet Frog or Toad to see if you are ready to get one as a pet.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Harlequin Poison Frog as Critically Endangered. Deforestation is the number one reason for the listing. Much of the habitat for the frog has sadly been lost now and the frog lives in small areas.

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