Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yellow Banded Poison Dart Forg Habitat and Reproduction

The yellow-banded poison dart frog is found in the neo-tropical region that includes Venezuela, northern Brazil, Guyana, and southeastern Colombia. They prefer humid or wet habitats and can be found on forest soil, moist stones, wet tree trunks, and roots of rainforest trees.

The yellow-banded poison dart frog is one of the largest species in this genus, with an adult body length averaging 1.57 inches. Their average weight is 0.11 ounces. Females are larger and more robust than males. They have distinctive yellow and black bands across the body. As the frog ages, the black bands often break off into spots. These frogs also have glandular adhesive pads on their toes and fingertips, which help them adhere to plant surfaces, allowing them to climb and cling. The bright coloration represents a warning of danger or distastefulness to potential predators. They produce toxic chemicals in their skin, making them poisonous to most would-be predators. Lifespan: In the Wild 5-7 years; In Captivity 10-15 years (record is 20.5 years).

Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frogs

Yellow-banded poison dart frogs are diurnal (active during the day and rest at night), living mainly on the ground and also climbing into trees. Males are very territorial and can be aggressive in defense of a calling/breeding territory. When not breeding, they are solitary. The size of their territory is unknown. Males vocalize to attract females during breeding season. Males also use visual cues and show off their colors. They depend on vision to locate prey. Tadpoles use vibrations in water to signal their presence in a water pool to adult frogs. If a second tadpole is deposited, the first one will likely eat it. Enrichments at the Zoo: feeding, moving and changing furniture.

Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frogs

Females reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age. Breeding occurs in February and March, occurring once
during the rainy season. During the mating season, males use vocalizations such as chirps, buzzes, trills, and hums to get the attention of females. Calling is most intense for an hour or two after sunrise and before sunset. They also show off their brightly colored bodies. Tactile (touching) communication is also important in breeding.

Females compete for males. After she chooses a mate, she follows him to his chosen breeding ground. She deposits her eggs (2-12 eggs in a clutch; up to 1000 in a breeding season) usually on leaves, in areas of high humidity. Then the male cares for the eggs, keeping them moist. Eggs hatch into tadpoles about 10-14 days after fertilization. He also cares for the hatched tadpoles. The tadpoles ride on the father’s back while he climbs up into the forest canopy, where he deposits the tadpoles into one of a variety of water-holding plants. Some reports say that he carries them in his mouth. Bromeliads are ideal for the tadpoles because they have many cup-like leaves filled with water. One tadpole is placed in each pocket of water. After 70-90 days, tadpoles have fully changed into froglets. They are mature at 12-18 months of age.

Conservation Status

IUCN status: not listed; CITES Appendix: not listed
Yellow-banded poison dart frogs are poorly known in the wild, but are common in captivity. Their numbers in the wild are declining due to exploitation and destruction of their habitat for lumber.
They are also collected for the pet trade. Predators: adults are preyed upon by some snakes, humans (many predators are obviously repelled by the toxic skin secretions); tadpoles are preyed upon by damselfly nymphs


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