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352

golden poison frog

OLogy Series
animal
card
352

golden poison frog

OLogy Series
animal

Over 80 kinds of poison frogs live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Of these, the toxin of the jewel-bright golden poison frog is 10 to 20 times more deadly than any other poison frog. Golden poison frogs get their toxicity from something in their diet. Scientists think the poison comes from a certain kind of beetle. In captivity, the frogs are fed toxin-free crickets and flies, so they're harmless.

How do local hunters in the South American Chocó forest use golden poison frogs?

they use the frogs as bait in animal traps

they learn to hunt by shooting frogs

they tip their darts with the frogs' poison

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Correct!

Then hunters use a blowgun to shoot the poison-tipped dart. The poison kills birds and larger animals quickly. But it's harmless when people cook and eat the meat.

The poison found in the skin of golden poison frogs is called batrachotoxin. This toxin gets its name from the Greek word for:

danger

frog

poison

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Correct!

The toxin batrachotoxin gets its name from the Greek word for frog, batrachos. This toxin makes nerves unable to transmit impulses. The muscles become paralyzed and eventually, the heart stops beating.

It would take the secretions from 10 golden poison frogs to kills a human.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Actually, the secretions from just one single golden poison frog could kill 10 humans! The skin of the golden poison frog is among the most toxic substances on Earth.

A golden poison frog's bright colors benefit both the frog and its predators.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The frog's bright colors warn predators that it's toxic. Such warning signals, called aposematism, keep frogs from getting eaten and stop predators from eating a toxic meal!

Scientific name: Phyllobates terribilis
Habitat: lowland forests in the Amazon and Columbian coast
Characteristics: brightly colored, highly toxic amphibian
Size: 47 to 55 mm
Diet: insects, such as ants, termites, and beetles
Cool Fact: They come in a range of colors from mint green to orange, but most are yellow.

Image credits: © AMNH/T.Grant.