Metamorphosis

 

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The Poison Dart Frog collection of RainForest Adventures continues to grow!  Our most recent batch of eggs is shown in the photos on this page. 

The process of metamorphosis is an absolutely amazing one.  Several types of animals go through metamorphosis on our planet including butterflies, moths and even cockroaches.  Undoubtedly the most beautiful group of all animals to watch change is the frog family, especially the Dart frogs of the Americas.  Brilliant greens and blues cover these little jewels of the rain forest, the color palate is as varied as the number of species. 

Dart Frog Natural History

Newly laid Dart Frog eggs.  The Dart frog eggs are laid in jelly like fluid and will begin their metamorphosis.

The dart frog eggs are incubated at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  

7 day old Dart Frog Tadpoles

At this stage the eggs have clearly metamorphasized into tadpoles.  The tadpoles are beginning to move about in a mucous type of fluid.  The Dart frog tadpoles are

14 day old Dart Frog Tadpoles

Growth is rapid as the tadpoles grow larger.  

21 day old Dart Frog Tadpoles  
28 day old Dart Frog Tadpoles

Legs can be seen emerging as well as eyes developing.  Tail absorption is just beginning.

 

35 day old Dart Froglets 

By this stage of their development the dart frogs are beginning to become very active both at dusk and dawn.  Searching for food becomes a major portion of the frogs day.   The color pattern of the adult frog can also be seen forming on the skin.

 

 

 

The Natural History Of Dart Frogs

 

Classification
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Lissamphibia
Order - Anura
Family - Dendrobatidae

Introduction

Well over 100 species of poison dart frogs are known to exist, recent discoveries also point to the potential medical importance of certain compounds found in specific species of dart frogs skin.

Range
Tropical Americas- The dart frog family is found primarily in the rainforests of central and northern South America.  Relatives known as the mantellas exist on Madagascar

Habitat
All species of dart frogs live in a very damp, dark environment. Light rarely passes through the canopy of the rainforest to the floor where the majority of poison dart frogs reside. 

Diet
Like many other frogs the dart frog eats small insects, termites, crickets, ants and fruit flies. Certain species of insects that are consumed by the frogs assist the dart frogs in producing a chemical called a cutaneous poison. Frogs that are reproduced in captivity do not have access to this food source and have greatly diminished toxins found in their skin.

Population Status

In many cases the habitat of the dart frog is being lost to development.  Amphibians in general are having a very difficult time world-wide. 

Predators

Given the toxic nature of the animals skin this little frog has very few natural predators.  The tadpoles of the dart frogs have not yet developed the toxic cutaneous poison that the adult dart frogs possess, as a result of this lack of protection the tadpoles of all species of dart frogs are at the greatest risk of predation.  Many species of snakes as well as other carnivores consume a high percentage of the eggs and tadpoles of the dart frog.   The dragonfly larvae is a serious threat to tadpoles as these voracious little predators inhabit the same bromeliad vases etc.

RainForest Facts

Like many other brightly colored animals, the amazing color palette found on many of the dart frog species is a warning signal to potential predators that the animal is dangerous. Ounce for ounce the toxins found in the skin of dart frogs is some of the most dangerous on earth. 

The native peoples (Chocó Indians) of South America utilize the secretion from the dart frogs skin to tip their blowgun darts for hunting game.  This powerful weapon even allows the Indians animals as large, and inaccessible as arboreal monkeys.  

 

 

 

 

 

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