It is a medium-sized frog that weighs around 8 grams and grows to 3.0-4.5cm in length. Females are about half a centimeter taller than males, but their toes are larger. The frog has a typical lifespan of five to seven years in the wild. Its bright blue skin, usually darker around its limbs and stomach, serves as a warning to predators. The poisonous alkaloid glands located in the skin serve as a defense mechanism for potential predators. These poisons paralyze and sometimes kill the predator. The black spots are unique to each frog, allowing individuals to be identified. This species of frog has a distinctive hunchbacked posture.
Each foot contains four fingers, each of which has a flattened tip with a suction pad used for gripping. The tips of the toes in females are round, while males have heart-shaped tips.
Like almost all frogs, Tadpoles are very different in appearance than adults. They have a long tail, about 6mm, with a total length of about 10mm. They lack legs and gills and instead have lungs.
These tiny batrachians, 2 to 7 cm in height, with brilliant colors are so colorful that they are also called “painted frogs”.
Some Amazonian tribes call them “arrow frogs”. Their skin contains an extremely violent poison that hunters collect to coat their arrows with it. This poison is 250 times more powerful than curare. They collect it drop by drop by holding the frog above the fire and then let it marinate before dipping the tips of their weapons in it. The toxic substance, batrachotoxin, is secreted by glands in their skin. One species is particularly poisonous: Phyllobates terribilis which secretes enough poison to kill 10 men.
Batrachotoxin and medical research
The frog does not produce this toxin naturally. A recent study has shown that this poison comes from certain insects that amphibians ingest. If a beetle is placed in an artificial environment, its skin gradually loses this defensive weapon.
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