Poison Dart Frogs get their name from indigenous tribesmen use their poison to coat their darts when hunting.There is actually a whole group of Poison Dart Frogs, all of which are found within the Dendrobatidae family and - as their common name describes - all of them are  poisonous.

Of all the poison dart frogs, the Golden Poison Frog - also known as the Golden Dart Frog -  is the most poisonous frog of them all, and because of their ferocious toxicity, Golden Poison Dart frogs have only one natural predator - a snake known as Liophis epinephelus. This snake is resistant to the frog's poison, but is not completely immune!

Interestingly, Golden Dart Frog aren't actually born toxic!

The Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is native to the Pacific coast of Colombia prefering rainforest with high rain rates (5 m or more), high altitude and humidity, and a temperature of at least 26 °C.

The Golden Poison frog is often considered innocuous due to their small size and bright colours; however - aswe know - wild specimens are lethally toxic. This poison dart frog is confirmed to have killed humans who touched the wild frog directly.

How poisonous is the Golden Poison Frog?

The Golden Poison Frog's skin is drenched in alkaloid poison, one of a number of poisons common to dart frogs (batrachotoxins). The alkaloid prevents nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, and this can lead to heart failure or fibrillation.

Alkaloid batrachotoxins can be stored by frogs for years after the frog is deprived of a food-based source, and such toxins do not readily deteriorate, even when transferred to another surface. Rather worryingly, chickens and dogs have died from contact with a paper towel on which a Golden Poison frog had previously walked!

The golden poison frog is not venomous, but poisonous; venomous animals use their toxins to kill their prey. Like most poison dart frogs, the golden poison frog uses poison only as a self-defense mechanism and not for killing prey.

The average dose carried will vary between locations, and consequent local diet, but the average wild golden poison frog is generally estimated to contain about one milligram of poison, enough to kill about 10,000 mice. This estimate will vary in turn, but most agree that this dose is enough to kill between 10 and 20 humans, which correlates to up to two African bull elephants. This is roughly 15,000 humans per gram!

The high toxicity of golden poison frog appears to be due to the consumption of small insects or other arthropods, and one of these may truly be the most poisonous creature on Earth. Scientists have suggested that the crucial insect may be a small beetle from the family Melyridae. At least one species of these beetles produces the same toxin found in golden poison frog. The beetle family Melyridae is cosmopolitan. Its relatives in Colombian rainforests could be the source of the batrachotoxins found in the highly toxic Phyllobates frogs of that region.

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Based on an article by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Poison_Frog
Photo care of http://animaladay.blogspot.com/2010/10/poison-dart-frog.html

1 comment:

Rohrerbot said...

Oh my goodness. I was just there and did a photo shoot back in June. I have some really great shots of the red frog....they were all over the place. This post is schedule for August 22nd! It will be several days at Isla Bastimentos in the Bocas del Toro region. I had wanted to go to the other islands, but there was too much to do.