Blue Poison Dart Frog
Dendrobates Azureus[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Description of Animal
These little frogs are easily recognized by their blue color, which is generally darker on the limbs and belly and overlaid with black spots or patches, especially on the head and back.
As their name implies, poison dart frogs can release toxins from the skin that are distasteful and potentially lethal to would-be predators. Three very toxic species of poison dart frogs from Colombia and South America are utilized by Indians to poison the tips of blowgun darts.
Blue poison dart frogs are active during the day and can be found hiding among boulders and debris near streams; however, they lack toe webbing and are poor swimmers, so they are never found in the water.Aquarist's Note
This colorful frog was not even discovered until 1968!
Several years ago, curator Jack Cover and an Aquarium team traveled to South America to research this frog and were permitted to bring back a few specimens.
Those specimens became the foundation for a nationally renowned breeding program.
The program's goal is to maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population and eliminate the need to collect frogs from the wild. As a result, the National Aquarium in Baltimore supplies blue poison dart frogs to zoos and aquariums across the country.
Ultimately, this program could provide frogs for reintroduction should the wild population ever become extinct.Diet
In the wild, the frog's diet is the source of its skin toxins. A constant forager, this frog is always searching for ants, termites, tiny beetles, and any other small insect it may find among the leaf litter.
Such foods are difficult to provide in captivity.
Specimens born at the aquarium are fed fruit flies and baby crickets powdered with a vitamin/mineral supplement. As a result, the frogs are completely non-toxic.Size
An adult frog has a body about 2 inches (5 cm) long and weighs about 0.3 ounce (8 g). Range
These frogs are found in a few isolated “rain forest islands” in the Sipaliwini savanna of southern Suriname.
This area was probably covered by rainforest habitat in the distant past—until the last ice age.
Then, the rain forest gave way to dry grassland in all but a few areas where surface ground water was sufficient to sustain the original vegetation.
The blue poison dart frog is a relic species living in a few isolated patches of relic rainforest habitat.Population Status
The habitat is remote and difficult to reach, so accurate population monitoring is a challenge.
Regardless of numbers, however, this species is highly vulnerable to both human activities and natural factors such as drought due to its extremely small range and isolated populations.Predators
Other than certain snakes and large spiders, there are few predators that can cope with the noxious poisons of adult frogs.
The tadpoles, which are not protected by any poison, often fall prey to snakes and dragonfly larvae.