Green-and-black Poison Arrow Frog

The Green-and-black Poison Arrow Frog (Dendrobates auratus) is a small mint green and black marbled frog and is a very common zoo/wildlife park exhibit, not to mention one of the most variable of the Dendrobates group. The poison possessed by the Green-and-black is said to be strong enough to stop a human heart, although these chemicals are only secreted if the individual feels threatened.



The Green-and-black is from central and northern South America. It was introduced to Hawaii in the middle half of the last century, where its population has flourished. Their main habitat is rainforests, as the pooling water that collects in the trees is an important part of their life cycle.


Green-and-black standard morph


Adult Green-and-blacks reach around 1.5 inches (4cm) in length. Whilst their colouration is varied among the numerous morphs, it is generally a pale mint green with black spots and blobs. 



The female lays up to 6 eggs, once they hatch the male generally carries the tadpoles up in to the treetops and deposits them in special pools, formed inside leaves, or other small puddles. As the tadpoles grow in to adults, it is believed their change of diet helps them to become poisonous. Feeding on ants in the wild with high quantities of alkaloids is thought to help the frogs create and isolate a poison, most captive specimens lose their toxicity. They actively hunt invertebrates and insects.


Canal Zone morph


The Green-and-black has many morphs, including:

Alto de Piedra morph (large morph), Caldera morph (bluish-green and black marbled), Taboga morph (green markings on a bronze-brown background), Santa Maria morph (green to blue markings on black background), San Felix morph (greenish spots on a light brown background), Kuna Yala morph (white markings on a brown background), Caribe morph (large morph patterned similar to the top image), Capira morph (cream markings on a red-brown background), Canal Zone morph (small greenish dots on a black-brown background), Calobre morph (dark blue markings on a black background), Bronce morph (green markings on a silver-bronze metallic background), Pacifico morph (metallic green-yellow on black background), Capurganá morph (large green blobs on a black background).



The Green-and-black poison arrow frog is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern.