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Strawberry Poison Dart Frog

Oophaga pumilio

Strawberry Poison Frog at Henry Vilas Zoo

About Strawberry Poison Dart Frog

The strawberry poison dart frog is slender compared to similar species, with the frog’s colorful skin also featuring bilateral symmetry. This means the patterns on their skin are symmetrical, however the color variations for this species are the most diverse in the entire poison dart frog family. Their skin can range from strawberry red, blue, yellow, white, green, orange to black. Their bodies are compact, with four un-webbed fingers on each hand and foot.

Habitat

This species typically resides in rainforest habitats and also in cacao and banana groves. Unlike some other poison dart frogs, this frog tends to spend most of its time on the rainforest floor in leaf litter, however, they frequently climb trees and vines.

Diet

Strawberry poison dart frogs use a “wide foraging” feeding method where they stick out their tongues to catch ranging numbers of small prey. They mainly eat smaller insects like ants, which is where they get the alkaline toxins for their poisonous skin. They have also been known to eat mites and other small arthropods.

Family Life

With their highly territorial behavior, males must establish certain areas in order to find a successful partnership with a mate. If other intruding frogs invade an established territory, the resident male frog will begin wrestling the invading frog until it has pinned it completely on the ground. Generally, strawberry poison dart frogs will spend most of their energy feeding, mating, and taking care of their offspring by defending their territory.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog is classified as least concern.
Least concern graphic

Threats

  • This species of poison frog has few natural predators due to their brightly colored skin warning potential attackers to stay away. Night ground snakes are immune to the poisonous toxins on the frog’s skin, making them one of the more likely threats to the frog.
  • As with frogs of a similar species, tadpoles are usually an easy target for some larger predators, as their skin’s toxicity is still underdeveloped.
  • Climate change and deforestation pose two significant threats to the poison dart frog’s population, as the tadpole rearing process is highly habitat specific. Despite some concerns for their surrounding environment and involvement in the pet trade, the strawberry poison dart frog maintains at a healthy population level.

Facts about Strawberry Poison Dart Frog

  • Class:
    Amphibia (amphibian)
  • Order:
    Anura (frog)
  • Family:
    Dendrobatidae (poison dart frog)
  • Genus:
    Oophaga (poison dart frog)
  • Species:
    Oophaga pumilio (strawberry poison dart frog)
  • Life Span:
    Up to 17 years (zoo)
  • Size:
    0.6 – 0.9 in (17 – 24 mm)
  • Weight:
    Less than 1 oz (5 – 14 g)

Fun Facts

  • The strawberry poison dart frog features unique traits in their eyes that enable them to differentiate between different color variations of their species. Females rely on this ability, as they often select mates that are of the same color pattern.
  • Like with other brightly colored poison dart frogs, this species is vital to researchers as they study how predators interpret color variations in their prey.

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