Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates tinctorius


This colorful frog was not discovered
until 1968!

Exhibit Name and Location:
Washington - Amazon River Basin Gallery

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Blue Poison Dart Frog

These little frogs are easily recognized by their blue color, which is generally darker on the limbs and belly and overlaid with black spots or patches, especially on the head and back.

As their name implies, poison dart frogs can release toxins from the skin that are distasteful and potentially lethal to would-be predators.

Blue poison dart frogs are active during the day and can be found hiding among boulders and debris near streams and among leaf litter on the forest floor; however, they lack toe webbing and are poor swimmers, so they are not found in the water.

Unlike most frogs that lay hundreds of eggs, blue poison dart frogs lay small clutches of just five or six eggs. Once they hatch, the tadpoles wriggle onto the parent's back and the parent frog carries them to a safe pool of water.


A constant forager, this frog is always searching for mites, termites, tiny beetles, and any other small insect it may find among the leaf litter.


An adult frog has a body about 2 inches long and weighs about 0.3 ounce.


These frogs are found in a few isolated “rain forest islands” in the Sipaliwini savanna of southern Suriname.

This area was probably covered by rain forest habitat in the distant past—until the last ice age. The rain forests have since given way to dry grassland in all but a few areas where surface ground water was sufficient to sustain the original vegetation. The blue poison dart frog lives in a few isolated patches of relic rain forest habitat.

Population Status

The habitat is remote and difficult to reach, so accurate population monitoring is a challenge. Regardless of numbers, this species is highly vulnerable to both human activities and natural factors such as drought due to its extremely small range and isolated populations.


Adult dart frogs have few predators, but the tadpoles, which contain no toxins, often fall prey to other amphibians, reptiles, and predatory invertebrates.

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A Note From the Caretaker

These frogs have been prolific breeders for us, and we have introduced many offspring to the exhibit.


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