Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog
|Geographical Range||Central America, northern South America (native range); introduced to Hawaii|
|Habitat||Rain forests, plantations|
|Scientific Name||Dendrobates auratus|
|Conservation Status||Not listed by IUCN|
These brightly colored little frogs live near streams or pools on the rainforest floor. They feed mostly on spiders and small insects, which they capture with their sticky tongues.
The bright colors of these frogs serve as a warning that they have numerous poison glands on the surface of their body that emit toxic secretions. Local people have long made use of the frogs to supply poisons for their blowgun darts. Now scientists are investigating the potential of one of the frogs’ toxins – called epibatidine – for use as powerful new painkiller that may have the benefits of morphine without its damaging side effects. The extract from the frog's skin has been shown to block pain 200 times more effectively than morphine.
Green and black poison dart frogs are surprisingly good parents. After a female lays her eggs in a pool of water, her mate frequently returns to check on the eggs and keep them moist during the two weeks they take to hatch. Once the six or so tadpoles emerge, they climb onto the father’s back, and he carries them one-by-one to nearby pool of water. Six weeks later, they develop into adult frogs.