The Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

golden poison dart frog

The Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis), also known as the golden frog, golden poison frog, or golden poison arrow frog is a member of the family Dendrobatidae. This frog is a species of poison dart frog found in the small rainforest on the Pacific coast of Colombia.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog is the most hazardous of the poison dart frogs. A single specimen measuring 2 inches has enough venom to kill 10 adult men. The native Emberá people of Colombia have used its powerful venom for centuries to tip their blowgun “darts” when hunting, hence the species name.

In the wild, Golden Poison Dart Frog is a social animal, living in groups of up to 6 individuals, however, captive Golden Poison Dart Frog specimens could live in much bigger groups. These frogs are typically considered harmless due to their tiny size as well as bright colors, however, wild frogs are lethally toxic.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog is the largest species of poison dart frog and could reach a size of 55mm (2 inches) as adults, with females typically being larger than males. Like all poison dart frogs, the adults are brightly colored, however, they lack the dark spots present in many other dendrobatids.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog coloring could occasionally vary between yellow, orange, or mint green. The attraction of their appearance is a deliberate ploy, a tactic called aposematic or warning coloration, to ward off potential predators. The frog has little sticky disks on its toes, which help climbing of plants. It also has a bone plate in the lower jaw, which gives it the appearance of having teeth, a distinctive feature not observed in the other species of Phyllobates.

These brightly colored amphibians are among the biggest of the more than 100 poison dart frog species, averaging more than 1 inches in length. They live within a small plot of rainforest on the Pacific coast of Colombia. And also though the population in its small range is abundant, a widespread decimation of the rainforest has landed this species on worldwide endangered lists.

The optimal habitat of Golden Poison Dart Frog is the rainforest with high rainfall rates about 5 m (16 ft) annually and altitudes between 100 and 200 m (328-656 ft) above sea level in lowland rainforest with steep rocky terrain and where the forest is broken by a stream. The Golden Poison Dart Frog prefer a temperature of at least 26 °C (80 °F), and relative humidity of 80-90%.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog do not produce their own poison instead it is obtained from the insects they consume in their natural habitats on the Pacific coast of Colombia rainforests. That is why frogs in captivity are not toxic or poison frogs that are taken captive lose their toxicity after some time.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog skin is densely coated in an alkaloid toxin and the most toxic of the many poisonous alkaloids, these frogs produce from their skins is batrachotoxin, alongside a wide variety of other toxic compounds. This poison prevents its sufferer’s nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, which could cause fibrillation or heart failure.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog is also very successful tongue hunters, using their long, sticky tongue to catch food, and almost never miss a strike. This success at tongue-hunting implies better brainpower as well as a resolution of vision than some other frogs. The Golden Poison Dart Frog is carnivore that might live for about 6-10 years.

 

Diet Of The Golden Poison Dart Frog

Diet Of The Golden Poison Dart Frog

The Golden Poison Dart Frog are carnivorous animals that survive on a diet purely made up of meat. They shoot out their long adhesive tongue to catch ants, insects, flies, spiders and also termites. Due to the high toxin levels produced by the poison frog, it has very few predators in the wild.

The Golden Poison Dart Frog feed during the day mainly on insects they encounter on the rainforest floor. The primary natural sources of food are the ants in the genera Paratrechina and Brachymyrmex, however, many kinds of insects and other small invertebrates can be eaten, specifically termites and also beetles, which could easily be discovered on the rainforest floor. This frog is considered the most voracious of the dendrobatids.

In captivity, the Golden Poison Dart Frog is fed with Drosophila fruit flies, spider, cochineals, crickets (Gryllidae), the larvae of various insects, and other tiny, live invertebrate foods. Tadpoles eat whatever is available such as algae and microscopic plants, carrion, and even smaller tadpoles.

 

Reproduction Of The Golden Poison Dart Frog

Reproduction Of The Golden Poison Dart Frog

Sexual maturity of Golden Poison Dart Frog is based more on body size than age. If both sexes are present, healthy adult frogs will typically start to breed by the age of 18 months. Some do not breed successfully for more than 2 years. No distinct breeding stimulus should be necessary since these frogs are from tropical latitudes and also breed naturally throughout much of the year.

In their reproduction behavior, the Golden Poison Dart Frog is similar to other poison dart frogs. Breeding occurs throughout the rainy season. Eggs are laid in a bower, such as in a Petri dish under a coconut hut, or on the leaf of a plant in the aroid family.

The male sits on a leaf as well as calls a female with 2 trilling or buzzing calls.The attracted female and the male move to a moist area such as in a leaf litter or under rocks where the female lays 10-30 gelatinous encased eggs that the male fertilizes as the female lays them. The male visits the eggs to keep them moist, however, due to the wet environment, male does not need to moisten the eggs very often. The eggs hatch in about 14 days.

If left in the terrarium, the male will carry the hatchlings individually, or in tadpole packs on his back, to the closest water source. An in-terrarium pond is great for this purpose. Typically, just about 50% of the eggs survive to hatching.

 

How to Aquarium Care for Golden Poison Dart Frog?

How to Aquarium Care for Golden Poison Dart Frog

The Golden Poison Dart Frog is the largest species of poison dart frog. Their size and active nature require an appropriately large terrarium. A pair of adults could be kept in a 20-gallon long terrarium, however, larger is always better. All poison frogs climb, however, this species is one of the most terrestrial. This makes the surface area much more essential than a volume of the terrarium, that provides a large amount of floor space each frog.

Additionally, naturalistic vivarium is the typical approach to keeping poison frogs. The naturalistic vivarium is an aquarium that has been designed to produce a small ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there are plants, soil, and also a drainage layer to maintain the soil from becoming completely saturated.

The naturalistic vivarium creates a balance where the animals waste is used by the plants. This balance produces an environment where the maintenance, includes adding food for the frogs as well as cutting plants out as they grow. No removal of waste and or tank cleaning is necessary.

The temperature should be in the low to mid-20s(°C) 70s(°F). The Golden Poison Dart Frog is sensitive to high heat and suffers from a condition called wasting syndrome if overheated for too long. They require high humidity, as they come from one of the globe’s most humid rainforests.

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