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Charismatic, Colorful Frogs Coming to the Museum

by AMNH on

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This Saturday, the live-animal exhibition Frogs: A Chorus of Colors opens at the Museum. With more than 200 live frogs from around the world, the exhibition hints at the remarkable diversity that exists among more than 6,200 frog species around the globe. Here, meet two colorful and charismatic species you can see in the exhibition: the tomato frog and the blue dart-poison frog.

Tomato frog

More than 200 frog species live on Madagascar, which lies off the east coast of Africa—and 99 percent of those species are found only on that faraway island. But you can see the dazzling orange-red tomato frog (Dyscophus antongilii) for yourself in the Frogs exhibition.

19. Tomato frog_Reptiland

Females of the species can be nearly twice as long as the males, reaching 4 inches in length, and all members of the species are nocturnal. At dusk, says Museum Curator Chris Raxworthy, an authority on Madagascan amphibians who oversees the exhibition, tomato frogs “emerge from hiding places; when disturbed they make a long series of short but powerful hops in a ziz-zag pattern, to help evade their predators.”

Blue dart-poison frog

Found in Central and South America, dart-poison frogs like this blue dart-poison frog, Dendrobates tinctorius, are mostly diurnal—that is, active during the day. Found in forests of Venezuela and Suriname, these cobalt beauties are tiny—less than 2 inches in length.

A blue poison dart frog on a brown leaf.

They are also poisonous—oozing toxins out of skin glands. By eating invertebrates like mites, spiders, beetles, and ants, dart-poison frogs in the wild obtain certain alkaloids which they transform into those toxins. Meanwhile, in the Frogs exhibition, the dart-poison frogs are fed a different, non-toxin-creating diet, one of fruit-flies, bean beetles, and crickets. 

Vote for your favorite of these two species on Facebook through May 22, in a Frog Face-Off, for a chance to win two tickets to the Frogs exhibition. 

Learn more about the live-animal exhibition, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, opening Saturday, May 18.

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors is presented with appreciation to Clyde Peeling's Reptiland.