The purpose of camouflage seems obvious to both predators and prey. Yet, many animal species sport bright, shimmering colors that are eye-catching. As these are often animals that could be easy prey, such as amphibians, reptiles, butterflies or other insects, one wonders what these fantastic shades ranging from fuchsia pink to turquoise blue can be used for! These are warning colors, the meaning of which is simple and precise: “Attention, danger! This phenomenon is called "aposemantism"; it signals the presence of skin poison, the risk of a poisonous bite or a foul odor.
In summary :
Brightly colored on the dorsal side pale blue. Their sides are a darker blue. Males have larger suckers than females. These tree beetles are arboreal and diurnal.
Lay a dozen eggs.
Food. Big insect eaters.
Install an 80x40x40cm humid tropical type terrarium with a temperature of 24 to 26 ° C during the day and 22 to 26 ° C at night with bark and soil for terrarium, plants (epiphytes for example) and a container of water easy to access and shallow to prevent drowning. Illuminate by tube or neon. The use of UV is desirable. Ensure a regular supply of insects; for this it is preferable to breed insects such as for example drosophila with atrophied wings or crickets. After laying, put the eggs in a small box with half a centimeter of water at 25 ° C until they hatch. Then rear the tadpoles individually with exotic fish flakes. This species is quite easy to breed.
The toxicity of these dendrobates is high in nature: any contact with the venom of this amphibian causes significant burns (the populations of the Amazon use it to coat the tips of their arrows). Due to a diet different from their natural habitat, wood beetles have a less active (harmless) venom in terrariums.
And more precisely :
* The terrarium for adult tree frogs:
To maintain a group of 5-6 tree frogs (a single male and several females), we will take a terrarium of about 60 x 50 x 50 cm. This terrarium should have two fairly large vents on the sides. The opening will be on the front to facilitate handling.
A lamp (bulb) of about 40W will be located on the top of the terrarium (and not inside) in order to provide a slightly diffused light.
The heating will be carried out either by a heating cord, or by a heated room, in the case of several terrariums.
If it is done by heating cord, it will be placed under the terrarium but especially not inside, under penalty of seeing the soil dry out quickly and see your animals perish one by one.
The soil will consist of peat which must be kept moist. This substrate will be changed once or twice a year. Artificial plants (preferably silk) will be placed in the terrarium as well as some roots (used in aquariums).
A plastic cup used for flower pots will be permanently placed in the terrarium to allow animals to bathe there. An artificial "laying tree" will be made to allow females to lay their eggs there.
The making of this tree is made to imitate the bromeliads, where the beetles lay eggs in the water reserves of the foliage. However, we should avoid introducing real plants to limit the appearance of parasites as much as possible.
For young frogs, the terrarium will be of the same type but without the "egg-laying tree".
The temperature will be maintained with a heating cable passing under the terrarium and connected to a thermostat. The temperature will be between 28 and 30 ° C during the day, and 24-25 ° C at night. The humidity will of course be high thanks to the soil which will be very humid and to frequent water spraying (reverse osmosis or demineralized water in order to avoid lime stains).
* Adult diet:
The biggest problem in breeding tree frogs is feeding them. Indeed, these small frogs are very voracious and it is necessary to provide a large quantity of food from where the obligation to have a large breeding of fruit flies and crickets in order to have permanently enough to feed them. These animals feed all day long.
In summer, aphids can be distributed (which is an advantage if you live in the countryside). It is necessary to avoid leaving them without food for a few days, which would lead to the loss of the animals, even if the adults can last a little more than a week without food.
Reproduction of wood beetles
The reproduction of the beetles does not pose really any difficulties if all the maintenance conditions and an important and varied diet are respected. The problem is that for some species, consanguinity is important (D. azureus), which makes it necessary to obtain new specimens to avoid this degeneration.
The adults are maintained in small groups, preferably with only one male per group, the laying takes place in the "egg-laying tree" described above. The eggs are usually deposited in small groups (2 to 7) or in isolation. Layings are generally low (around 9 to 16 eggs per spawning on average).
These eggs are usually watched by one of the parents, especially when they are laid in a place with poor water, where the latter regularly visits the eggs to moisten them (with the contents of the bladder). The development time of the eggs is about fifteen days.
The larvae are separated and placed in the tadpole battery. (The separation of tadpoles is mandatory for Dendrobates which are carnivorous, on the other hand Phyllobates are not (vegetarians) and can be raised together).
The advantage of this "battery" is that the water is replaced permanently in the form of a fairly rapid drip, so as to completely replace the water in the container once or twice a day, which greatly avoids pollution and loss of tadpoles.
This is easy to do. In pet stores, you will find food for exotic fish, which allows tadpoles to be fed easily and correctly. The developmental time of larvae until metamorphosis lasts about 3 months. The young frogs are then placed in a terrarium identical to that of the adults but without the "egg-laying tree".
* Notes on the venom of these frogs:
Dentrobates secrete poison through the skin to protect themselves from predators. Depending on the species, this venom is more or less powerful. The effectiveness of this venom tends to decrease in captivity, but remains dangerous for humans if it enters through a wound or if it is inoculated.
You should know that if this venom reaches our body (mainly in the blood) it can be fatal. There is no cure for this one. The most dangerous species are the Phyllobates. For example, the venom secretions of Phyllobates terribilis are capable of killing 20,000 mice.
It is advisable to handle these frogs with care and preferably with disposable latex gloves
The legs of Oophaga pumilio are often black, blue, gray or ocher and may be speckled with black dots. Native to the Caribbean coast, this frog is found from southern Nicaragua to Panama, via Costa Rica, at an altitude of 100 to 500 meters. If you want to get a couple of strawberry beetles, a 50 x 40 x 60 cm terrarium is perfect. With a temperature of 24-28 ° C and a drop of 2 to 4 ° overnight and humidity at 90%, frogs will feel great in their terrarium. The terrarium will have to be abundantly planted and many hiding places will allow these small animals not to be stressed. They also like Ficus pumilia plants. You can feed your strawberry frogs with fruit flies, micro-crickets, typical springtails, moth larvae and aphids. The female lays 5 to 10 eggs. The tadpoles eat the unfertilized eggs by the male. It will therefore be necessary to let the parents take care of it.