Scientific Name: dendrobates tinctorius
Habitat: forest floor of tropical rainforest
Diet: ants, termites, and small spiders
Life Span: 4 – 6 years (10 – 15 in captivity)
Young: 8 – 10 eggs perclutch
Size: 4 – 6 cm
The Dyeing Poison Dart Frog is found in small isolated areas in French Guinea and northeastern Brazil, its range usually being restricted to “Highland” areas (up to 350 m).
The Dyeing Poison Dart Frog is highly toxic if consumed. It produces toxins which the frog uses for self-defense. These toxins cause pain, cramping, and stiffness when the frogs are handled roughly by potential predators. Their bright colours serve as a warning to animals that they are dangerous to eat!
The body of the dendrobates tinctorius is typically black with irregular patterns of yellow or white stripes. In some, however, the body may be primarily blue, yellow, or white. Their legs range in colour from light blue, to sky blue, to navy blue, or even royal purple and are often peppered with small black dots.
This species of dart frog got its name from a legend that local tribes would use a live frog, or a tincture of frog skin and blood, to “dye” the plain green feathers of a parrot. Supposedly, they would pluck the green feathers from a young parrot, rub it with the tincture and when the new feathers grew in, they would magically be red or yellow.
To learn more about the Dyeing Poison dart Frog, visit The Animal Diversity Web, or come visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo.