You’re probably here because you’re doing research for a school project. If you aren’t here because of that, then it is probably because you are interested in acquiring strawberry poison dart frogs as pets. Either way, this list of strawberry poison dart frog facts is packed full of neat and unique facts about this fascinating frog species. These poison frogs are without a doubt my favorite frog species, so without further ado, let’s get started!
The Top 10 Strawberry Poison Dart Frog Facts
1. Many Morphs
One of the most unique things about these frogs is the HUGE diversity in phenotypes within the species. While they are commonly known as strawberry poison dart frogs, their scientific name is Oophaga pumilio. Pumilios come in a wide variety of colors based on the locale of the specimens. These frogs can range from solid red with blue legs, to bright green with black spots, all the way to solid midnight blue. There are very few species on the planet (if any) that rival the amazing phenotypic diversity of Oophaga pumilio. The bright colors observed in most of the morphs are used as a way to signal predators, saying “Don’t eat me, I’m poisonous!” The pictures below show a couple of the different pumilio morphs that have been discovered.
2. Harmless in Captivity
Strawberry poison dart frogs are harmless when born in captivity. This is because poison dart frogs obtain their toxicity through their diet in the wild. In the wild, these frogs eat ants, beetles, and mites that contribute alkaloids to the frogs. The frogs can sequester these alkaloids in serous glands found in their skin to produce a potent toxin. In captive conditions, these frogs are fed mostly fruit flies and springtails so they do not have access to the alkaloids that make them poisonous in the wild. Wild-caught pumilio specimens may retain their toxicity for a period of time after being caught, but will eventually become harmless as if they were born in captivity.
There have been many different toxins collected from wild strawberry poison dart frogs. Most of these are classified as “pumiliotoxins”. Pumiliotoxins are weaker than the batrachotoxins found in some other poison frog species.
4. Unique Breeding Behavior
The breeding behavior of these frogs is different from many other poison dart frog species. They are obligate egg feeders. What this means is that young tadpoles will only eat other unfertilized eggs. The mother will often deposit unfertilized eggs into their water for them to eat. Typically, the mother lays her clutches in bromeliads. The tadpoles are separated after hatching due to their cannibalistic tendencies. They are individually transported on the backs of the parent frog to separate water pools (usually in bromeliad axils).
5. They are Tiny
Strawberry poison dart frogs are smaller than most strawberries! They only reach a maximum size of about an inch and this depends on the locale of the specimen. Many strawberry poison dart frog morphs are smaller than an inch.
6. Territorial Disputes
The males can be territorial. When a male feels his territory is invaded by another male, they will often physically fight each other until one leaves the area.
7. Successful Species
While many poison dart frog species are on the brink of extinction or being critically endangered, the strawberry poison dart frog is listed as “least concern” by the IUCN. Oophaga pumilio is a very successful species that is capable of fast adaptation and persistence.
These frogs have very few natural predators due to their relative toxicity in the wild. There are some species of spiders, snakes, and birds that can eat the frogs safely. Check out the picture to the right. This heavily scarred wild specimen probably survived a predator’s attack. What a survivor!
9. Rainforest Habitat
Oophaga pumilio frogs are from tropical areas such as Costa Rica and Panama. Most morphs are found in Costa Rica, but some are also found in Nicaragua and Panama.
10. Terrestrial Frogs
These frogs are terrestrial in nature, and are often found hunting in the leaf litter for prey items (ants, mites, small beetles, etc.).
Those are the top 10 strawberry poison dart frog facts as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully you learned a lot about these wonderful frogs from the article! If you’d like to leave a comment, or if you have anything you’d like to add, please do so below!