Colorful, Beautiful, Poisonous and Deadly but Medicinally Useful Frogs

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Poisonous frogs tend to advertise their toxicity with bright colors. Here are the world’s most brightly colored but dangerously fatal frogs. Most of these frogs are critically endangered. Researches are being conducted to determine their medicinal uses.

1. Phantasmal Poison Frog (Epipedobates tricolor)

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Phantasmal Poison Frogs, a species of poison dart frog, are native to Ecuador. They have radiant color, powerful poison, and yet are some of the smallest frogs around, ranging from 1 cm or 0.39 in to 4 cm or 1.6 in. They can live up to 10 years in captivity.

Phantasmal Poison Frogs have one of the strongest toxins of frogs. Their toxicity is known to be lethal. One of commonly related organisms, the blue triden frog, is frequently confused up with the Phantasmal poison frog.

A chemical extracted from the skin of this species has turned out to be of medicinal use. A painkiller 200-times as potent as morphine, called epibatidine, has no negative side effects. Secretions from dendrobatids are also showing promise as muscle relaxants and heart stimulants.

2. Strawberry Poison-dart Frog (Dendrobates pumilio)

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Second on the list is the Strawberry Poison-dart Frog or Strawberry Poison Frog, found in Costa Rica and other parts of Central America. The frog’s skin is toxic that most likely gives the frog a bad taste, limiting predation. It does not possess any chemical capable of seriously harming humans, though a field worker described intense burning and mild swelling after getting skin secretions into a cut on his arm.

3. Bastis (Bastimentos pumilio)


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Basti typically come in three morphs, being red, yellow, or white, with black spots on the back and legs. They are all found together on Isla Bastimentos, hence the name.

4. Man Creek pumilio

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The Man Creek pumilio, like basti, is another frog that has seen recent importation. They look very similar to the blue jeans and are often confused. Man Creeks typically have gray legs and arms, and it is not uncommon for them to lack gray entirely on the front limbs. Some Man Creeks do exhibit bluish arms and legs.

5. Golden Poison Frog(Phyllobates terribilis )


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Golden Poison Frog or the Golden Dart Frog is the most poisonous vertebrate in the world. It is a poison dart frog endemic to Colombia. In captivity, poison dart frogs are not poisonous. It is in the wild where they are in fact poisonous because of what they eat. It contain the toxic Batrachotoxin and one Golden Poison Frog has one milligram of this poison, enough to kill about 10,000 mice or enough to kill between 10 and 20 humans.

6. Kokoe Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates aurotaenia)

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The Kokoe Poison Dart Frog is as toxic as the Black-legged Dart Frog. This is one of the more audible of the poison dart frogs and has a call often described as beautiful and bird-like.

7. Black-legged Dart Frog (Phyllobates bicolor)

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The Black-legged Dart Frog also known as the Bi-colored Dart Frog or Neari in Choco is the second most toxic of the wild poison dart frogs. This species obtained its name due to its normally yellow or orange body with black or dark blue hind legs and forelimbs below the elbow. It lives in forests in Colombia.

8. Diablito (Dendrobates sylvaticus)

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The Diablito is a poisonous frog commonly found in Colombia and Ecuador. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical forests. It is endangered by loss of habitat.

9. Harlequin Poison Frog (Dendrobates histrionicus)

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The Harlequin Poison Frog is also commonly called Harlequin Poison Dart Frog, a species of poison dart frog endemic to Ecuador and Colombia. The frog is normally found on the ground of tropical rain forests, among fallen limbs or leaf litter.

10. Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas)


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This type of poison dart frog which is mostly found in the northern part of South America in Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil is known with the various common names like Yellow-banded poison dart frog, yellow-headed poison dart frog and bumblebee poison frog. This amphibian is normally found in very humid conditions on trees or rocks. It is commonly seen in leaf litter thought too dry for other Dendrobatids to survive.

11. Blue Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates azureus)

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Blue Poison Dart Frog is a type of poison dart frog also found in South America. Its Tirio Indian name is Okopipi. It takes its species name from the fact that it is colored azure.

12. Dyeing Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius)

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This frog is commonly known as Dyeing Dart Frog, another species of poison dart frog. It is the largest species, reaching lengths of 50 millimeters (2.0 in). This species is found throughout the eastern portion of the Guiana Shield, including parts of Guyana, Suriname, Brazil and nearly all of French Guyana.

13. Southern Corroboree Frog


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Corroboree frogs are the first vertebrates discovered that are able to produce their own poisonous alkaloids, as opposed to obtaining it via diet as many other frogs do. The alkaloid is secreted from the skin as a defense against predation, and potentially against skin infections by microbes. These frogs are found in Australia.

14. Green and Black Poison Dart Frog(Dendrobates auratu)

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Green and black poison dart frog is a brightly-colored frog native to Central America and north-western parts of South America and was introduced to Hawaii. It is one of the most variable of all poison dart frogs next to Dendrobates tinctorius.

Hawaii Dendrobates auratus was introduced to Hawaii in the 1950s by biologist as a ways and means of controlling the mosquito population in Manoa Valley. Given the humid and ideal temperatures, the frog population proliferated. This is one of the scientific experiments in introducing alien species to counter alien pest that did not significantly negatively impact indigenous Hawaiian species, (unlike the mongoose).

15. Granular Poison Frog (Dendrobates granuliferus)

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The Granular Poison Frog is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. It is threatened also like other species by loss of habitat.

16. Splash-backed Poison Frog (Dendrobates galactonotus)

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Another species of poison dart frog is the splash-backed poison frog. It is native to Brazil. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and intermittent freshwater marshes. It is endangered by loss of habitat.

17. Red-Backed Poison Frog (Dendrobates reticulatus)

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This poisonous frog is found in Peru. It is also commonly known as Reticulated Poison Frog.

18. Dendrobate À Ventre Tacheté (Dendrobates ventrimaculatus)


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The Dendrobate À Ventre Tacheté, a species of poison dart frog, is found in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname. This species of frog lives on trees and sometimes on the ground of tropical rainforest. It is an endangered species due to loss of habitat.

Frog’s toxins are diverse that’s why they have raised the interest of biochemists as a “natural pharmacy”. The alkaloid epibatidine, a painkiller 200 times more potent than morphine, is found in some species of poison dart frogs. Other chemicals isolated from the skin of frogs may offer resistance to HIV infection. Arrow and dart poisons are under active investigation for their potential as therapeutic drugs.

TRIVIA about Frogs:

  • The Australian Rocket Frog (Litoria nasuta), can leap over 50 times their body length (5.5 cm), resulting in jumps of over 2 meters.
  • The largest frog on Earth is the Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath). It can grow up to 13 in (33 cm) in length from snout to vent, and weighs up to 8 lb (3 kg). This animal has a relatively small habitat range, mainly in West Africa. Its numbers are dwindling due to habitat destruction and collection for the pet trade.
  • The smallest frog in the world is Brazilian Gold Frog (Brachycephalus didactylus), also known as Izecksohn’s Toad. Adult Brazilian Gold Frogs measure to only 9.8 millimeters (24.7?64 inches) in body length. Many have a beautiful golden color, for which they are named.

Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you!

For frog related articles see

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World’s Most Colorful, Beautiful and Poisonous Frogs

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