The kingdom Animalia is one of the most intriguing, colorful and interesting of all kingdoms, with different species of animals. One such species are the poisonous frogs. In this article, let us study about these frogs, their habitat, food and living habits.
One of the most fascinating creatures that can be found across the globe are frogs. Frogs are amphibians, animals that can survive on land as well as water, and belong to the taxonomic category Anura (meaning without tail, derived from Greek an, without and oura, tail) which has three suborders namely Archaeobatrachia, Mesobatrachia and Neobatrachia. This taxon consists of both toads and frogs. There are different types of frogs and toads that are found everywhere, be it in rainforests, swamps and even deserts. Frogs can be classified under two categories – poisonous and non-poisonous frogs. One of the species belonging to this category is the poison dart frog.
Poison dart frogs are brightly colored like blue, yellow, green, reddish brown etc. and have poison alkaloid glands in their skin, that can be highly venomous. These frogs are found in the rainforest of Central and South America (Latin America). They belong to the family Dendrobatidae and the most popular frogs among the species is the strawberry dart frog, whose biological name is Oophaga pumilio. Let us see more about these venomous amphibians.
Characteristics of a Poisonous Frog
- Poisonous frogs are small in size and come in bright colors as a warning sign to their predators. Their skin is brightly colored (as defense mechanism), so that their predators can recognize them from a distance and hence avoid hunting them.
- They are found in warm and humid areas, mostly in creeks between the rocks.
- The skin of these frogs produces some toxins, which can be deadly, in order to hunt their prey.
- The diet of these frogs consists of small insects like crickets, meadow planktons, and fruit flies, etc.
Poisonous Frogs and Toads
Here is a detailed information on some of the venomous frogs and toads that are found in almost all the continents.
- Poison Dart Frogs: There are many types of poison dart frogs, also known as poison arrow frogs, blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates azureus, yellow banded poison dart frog Dendrobates leucomelas), strawberry dart frog (Dendrobates pumilio) and the most poisonous frog in the world, the golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis), to name a few. An interesting fact about the poison dart frog is its venom. These frogs are highly venomous and their poison can be lethal to human beings as well. Poison dart frogs come in flashy colors and are dangerously toxic. They hunt for their prey by spraying their venom like darts, that kills the prey instantly. A single golden poison frog has enough poison that can kill up to 10 to 20 adult human beings.
- American Toad: The American toad, whose scientific name is Bufo americanus is an inhabitant of Canada and eastern United States. There are three types of American toads – Dwarf American toad, Eastern American toad and Hudson Bay toad. These toads are found mostly in gardens and fields. Their skin contains poison glands, that secrete a milky white substance, which can be toxic if ingested or if it goes into the eyes. This poison is also lethal to smaller animals like cats and dogs.
- Demonic Poison Frog: The demonic poison frog is found in montane forests and isolated mountains or tepui. These frogs produce a toxin known as batrachotoxin, which is the most powerful toxin on earth and can affect the nervous system of human beings. The diet of this frog consists of small insects like grasshoppers, crickets and other small invertebrates, that can be found in the swamps and mountains. This frog appears on the IUCN List of Endangered Species.
- Cane Toad: Cane toads, also known as Marine toad or Giant toad, were used to eliminate pests that infested sugarcane fields. Though this toad is a native of Central and South America, it is also found in the agricultural fields of the Caribbean and Pacific islands. The skin of the cane toad is rough, dry and warty and is covered by paratoid glands, which contain toxin. Ingesting a tadpole of the cane toad family can be highly toxic for animals. A cane toad feeds on small reptiles, rodents and amphibians. It also eats plants, household scraps and dog food.
Poisonous frogs are amazing and beautiful creatures and they live in remote and inaccessible areas. As this species of frogs has dwindled, we need to protect this wonderful creation of nature from becoming extinct.