Dendrobates azureus

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Blue Poison Arrow Frog
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Amphibia
Order:Anura
Suborder:Neobatrachia
Family:Dendrobatidae
Genus:Dendrobates
Species:D. azureus
Binomial name
Dendrobates azureus
Hoogmoed, 1969
 
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Blue Poison Arrow Frog
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Amphibia
Order:Anura
Suborder:Neobatrachia
Family:Dendrobatidae
Genus:Dendrobates
Species:D. azureus
Binomial name
Dendrobates azureus
Hoogmoed, 1969

Dendrobates azureus is a species of poison dart frog found in the forests surrounded by the Sipaliwini savannah, which is located in southern Suriname and northern to central Brazil. Dendrobates azureus is widely known as the blue poison dart frog or by its Tirio Indian name, okopipi. Its species name comes from the fact that it is colored azure.

Contents

Physical description

D. azureus frogs coexist peacefully in captivity.

D. azureus is a medium-sized frog that weighs approximately 8 grams. It grows between 3 and 4.5 cm in length and has a typical lifespan of 4–6 years in the wild. Its bright blue skin serves as a warning to predators. Its color is also usually darker around its limbs and stomach. The glands of poisonous alkaloids located in the skin serve as a defense mechanism to potential predators. These poisons paralyze and sometimes kill the predator. The black spots are unique to each frog, serving as an identification tool. Each foot contains four toes which each have a flattened tip with a suction cup pad used for gripping. This species of frog is also identifiable by a hunch-backed posture.

Physical appearance also differs with the sex of the animal. Females are larger and about half a centimeter longer than males, but males have larger toes. The tips of the toes in females are round, while males have heart-shaped tips.

Tadpoles vary greatly in appearance from adults. They have a long tail, about 6 mm, with a total length of about 10 mm. They lack legs and have gills instead of lungs.

Behavior

Dendrobates azureus 2010.ogv
(video) A Blue Poison Dart Frog suddenly snacks on something.
Dendrobates azureus

Dendrobates azureus is a mainland animal, but stays close to water sources. These frogs spend most of their awake time during the day, hopping around in short leaps. They are very territorial and aggressive both towards their own species and others. To ward off intruders, they use a series of calls, chases, and wrestling, which usually occurs within the same sex.

Although poison dart frogs are known for their skin toxins, used on the tips of arrows or darts of natives, in reality only the species of the Phyllobates genus are used in this manner, although all poison dart frogs have some level of toxicity. In captivity, the frogs lose toxicity as a result of altered diets.

Reproduction

The blue poison dart frog breeds seasonally, usually during the months of February or March when it is rainy. To find mates, the males sit on a rock and produce quiet calls, which the females follows to track down the males. The females then physically fight over a male. The male takes the female to a quiet place by water, which becomes the site of the egg-laying. Once the eggs are laid the male will then cover them in his sperm to fertilise them, therefore fertilisation occurs externally.

Between five and ten offspring are produced, and eggs are laid in the male’s territory, which he defends. The male takes care of the eggs most of the time, but sometimes the female does, as well. The eggs hatch between 14 and 18 days, and after 10 to 12 weeks, the tadpoles are fully mature. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at two years of age. The expected lifespan of an average D. azureus is between four and six years in the wild, and about ten years in captivity.

Eating habits

Feeding on primarily insects, such as ants, flies, and caterpillars, the Dendrobates azureus is primarily an insectivore, but occasionally feeds on other arthropods, such as spiders. The mother provides unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles’ nutrition.

Captive care

The blue dart frog is very popular in captivity.[citation needed] Besides being visually appealing, D. azureus is both hardy and easy to breed.[citation needed] They are highly recommended for beginner hobbyists. However, they are somewhat aggressive frogs, and are best kept in pairs.

Like most captive dart frogs, they eat a staple diet of fruit flies, pinhead crickets, rice flour beetle larvae, and springtails.

References

External links

Media related to Dendrobates azureus at Wikimedia Commons